A Joyful Autumn Arrival!

Happy Monday, my friends!

In contrast to the last blog post, it's been a crazy week -- in a good way!

First of all, you should know that autumn is my absolutely favorite time of year.

According to my wall calendar, autumn started last Monday. I 'celebrated' with an apple dish for breakfast and setting up all my fall dΓ©cor. I also put together all the ingredients to make homemade pumpkin spice lattes (so fun and festive)! However, apparently, autumn actually started Monday night, so I was a bit premature in my seasonal rejoicing. Oh well. When the first full day of fall rolled around on Tuesday, Kyle (he was off work that day) and I went to the nearby apple orchard to explore and delight in the perfect weather. We walked through pumpkin patches (they looked quite sincere), admired the expansive apple orchard, visited the farm animals (goats and rabbits and alpacas, oh my!), got lost in a delightful little corn maze, and explored the goodies in the country store, leaving with several small pumpkins, apple cider donut holes, honey, and a bale of hay that we managed to fit in the backseat of my little car. We spent the rest of the day relaxing together. It was the perfect first day of fall and my last day of 'break.'

Yep, that's right --- my background check came in and I started work on Wednesday!! Yay!! Oh boy, let me tell you -- I am exhausted. At the end of my first day, I came home and plopped down on the couch to watch a movie. It was all I could manage to do. After work on Thursday, we headed to Lexington for some laser tag, roller skating, mini-golf, and all-you-can-eat pizza with some of Kyle's coworkers. Everything was free; it was an enjoyable time but my body was too exhausted to do anything other than eat and mini golf. Friday's work day was followed with a volunteer shift as part of the clean-up crew after a church-sponsored dance for people with special needs. It was wonderful being a part of it, but needless to say, I was, well.... exhausted. : The weekend brought me the rest that I needed (and I finally watched The Book Thief  -- sooo good, like the book) and today, I energized myself with a large iced coffee. I am happy to be working.

I love two things about my job: the kids and the morning drive. The kids in my room -- a handful of sweet, messy, playful wobblers (approximately nine to eighteen months old) -- brighten my day constantly. Yes, it's chaotic and messy, but that's OK. It's worth it. And the morning drive? It's been heavenly!! It's sixteen miles (about thirty minutes) of winding country roads through hills and fog past farms with fields of horses and cows. The route is nearly nonstop, with only one stoplight and a couple stop signs. No traffic at all, except for the occasional car that passes by. The best part? The sunrises! I leave for work right as the sun greets the day, which makes for marvelous skies. That, combined with the Kentucky mist (patches of fog in the hills), is glorious. I didn't have mornings like these back in Chicagoland. I am constantly in awe, with eyes wide open. And yes, I have pulled over several times to snap photos. I don't know if I will ever tire of the beauty that surrounds me here.

I am so happy my own personal fog has lifted. I feel useful and productive again. My back is also almost completely better! It is sore after work since I'm picking up kids all day, but it's healing well. The next thing I have to tackle? A cold is creeping into my body. At least I have all my essential oils to help me with that!

Our internet situation is still a bit iffy -- meaning, we don't really have any. We are hoping to get that established by the end of October. Until then, it's the occasional trip to the library (when they're open), McDonald's (the only other place in town with free WiFi), and Starbucks after work (yay for a Starbucks near work). I usually don't mind this lack of internet because a break from the screen is good; however, I am itching to share more with you soon.

Love, peace, and light.

As a friend so lovingly put it, "YAY CORN."


Weakness & Waiting.

Hey, friends.

I know I've been quiet with updates.

Truth be told, I'm kind of in a slump. I was hired at my new job over a month ago, but haven't started work yet because the background check from IL has yet to arrive. So, I'm waiting.

I read some books, did some writing, played a lot of Sims 3 (eek -- something I'm kind of ashamed to admit -- and I really want the Sims 4, eek), watched The Office, cleaned, hung out with all the animals, and occasionally drove to town for library books & errands. I started knitting again a few days ago and baked a yummy apple crisp. Sounds exciting, huh? And not really productive. I've kind of been kicking myself for not making 'better use of this time,' but really, what is there for me to do that I haven't been doing?

Don't get me wrong -- I am really enjoying being here and have the support I need. I love this beautiful land and have been delighting in the cooler weather these days. Autumn is my favorite and I'm incredibly excited for the fall beauty that will take over the Bluegrass. But, too much rest isn't good for me.

Oh, there are so many projects around the RV/land that I'd love to tackle! Now that it's September, even setting up an autumn porch scene would be marvelous. However, our finances are tight (mainly because of my job delay), so all the projects are on hold.

Waiting, waiting, waiting . . . . 

Then, on Friday afternoon, I was walking out my front door with my [dirty] laundry bag slung over my shoulder when I slipped on the [RV] steps and -- all in slow motion, of course -- fell, hitting my back on the steps. The laundry scattered across the ground and I was kneeling there, covered in dirt and crying in pain. A second later, the mailperson drove by, put mail in the mailbox, and drove off, completely missing me. I got up, unable to bend over and pick up the laundry, and walked slowly to Jordan's, where we proceeded to go to the ER. Three hours later, after X-Rays and a CT scan, the doctor found that I simply cracked one of the 'wings' of a lower vertebrae, thus causing some severe muscle pain. Only time, pain meds (of which I've only needed to take twice), prayer (thanks for the reminder, Amy!) and rest will heal. I guess God wants me to keep resting and waiting. A reason for everything, right?

My husband grabbed Rainbowsockmonkeyball out of the car and brought him into the ER, just to cheer me up. It was an adorable gesture -- and it worked. This little ball of colors always makes me smile.

And, this might be too much information, but I've had some serious burning issues while urniating since Friday night, so I went back to the ER (Kyle insisted) last night to check on that and make sure it wasn't kidney-related (near the injured area). After waiting a total of six hours and doing a chemical-dye CT scan test thing (they injected a dye into my bloodstream, which felt incredibly strange and warm), it showed up as a simple UTI. That's good, I suppose. I picked up my antibiotics for that.

Hopefully, I'm good and won't be having any more health/body issues for awhile. I had a painful respiratory infection a few weeks ago that kept me in bed for a few days, which we suspect has weakened my immune system. It's odd -- I don't normally get sick or injured, but things just keep happening lately. Thank God for the state health insurance that I have. [And essential oils!] Whew.

So...., that said, I've been feeling defeated.
Weak. Constantly in the waiting.

I'm in pain. I'm not working. I'm sitting around too much. I'm unmotivated. It's not good for my soul.

Then I read this somewhere online this morning:

"....Instead of just always being positive and that positivity being fake, we must also embrace the negative. In fact, it is when we give voice and healing to the negative thoughts, emotions and situations in our lives that we transform. When we choose to stare at negativity and pain and embrace them as lessons, we begin to shift and change. [...] We can turn fear, toxicity and negativity into a positive and joyful outcome when we realize that they are teachers and not final outcomes."

And this on my bible app today:

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans." --Romans 8:26

I recognize that I am in a momentary phase of weakness; I have negative thoughts and emotions and that's OK. These 'blah' feelings help me grow and lead to greater appreciation for the positive thoughts and emotions that I cherish. I will heal and become stronger. Until that happens, I actually need to embrace this lack of strength --- through more prayer, meditation, connections, and rest, no matter how tired I am of the rest & waiting. I will be fine, and will shine again in due time. Every storm runs out of rain.

I guess the point of this post is to let you know that not everything is sunshine and roses. There's been hard moments, more than just what I shared. And if even if it all was easy sunshine, wouldn't that be just a little bit boring? There's been some bumps, and more bumps are waiting for us ahead. It's life.

How about some photos that show the joyful moments these days? :)

On a final note, remember Judy, the baby duckling? Turns out it's a Jude... and he's grown so fast! Isn't he beautiful? The baby chickens have also changed quickly (we still don't know the genders), and three new ducklings have hatched in the past few days. Baby animals make me squeal. Hehe. I am also getting quite accustomed to the chickens and their oddball personalities. They make me laugh. A lot. Sometimes it gets quite annoying when the rooster crows under our trailer (its very loud), though. Oh, that rooster.

Until next time, loves.

Oh yeah, how's the RV? [With photos!]

I bet a lot of you are wondering how RV living is going. Well.... we are still loving it!

I thought I'd share some 'after' photos (click here for side-by-side comparisons of before & after) and tidbits on RV life. Ready? It's not perfect, and there's still more work to do (like paint), but it's ours. Home.

Here's a quick view of our main living area. Isn't it cozy!?? I love it!

View from the back / bunkhouse.

View from the front door / bedroom.

Front door + ktichen + part of the bunkhouse.

Kitchen.

  • I don't like clutter in the sinks, so I keep the dishes washed as much as I can -- usually right after a meal is finished, sometimes while cooking a meal if a certain tool or bowl isn't needed anymore. We don't have a dishwasher but that's not new for us -- I can't remember the last time I used one.
  • The sink faucet is a bit too low -- I can barely fit bigger pots and the blender underneath to wash. It's also leaking a bit. We'll be upgrading to a new faucet soon with a higher 'neck' arch.
  • We are still figuring out the pantry. As of right now, the pantry is a storage area (next to the fridge) with just one shelf. It's deep and narrow, so it's kind of hard for me to reach in the back. We did purchase an additional short shelf for more storage space but I still find myself digging. I'm hoping as we use up our items and purchase only the things we use on a regular basis, the pantry won't be as full. For example, right now we have jars of marshmallow, sprinkles, and chocolate chips -- all used for a hot chocolate party we had awhile back but not really something we use on a regular basis.
  • I can bake! Sort of. I think. I attempted mini blueberry muffins from scratch and they turned out OK! I ate them in less than 24 hours. Oops?
  • The oven is smaller than normal sized ovens but it fits every pan I have and cooks just fine. The gas stove works perfectly too (it does cook things quicker than I'm used to).
  • Our little IKEA dining table is working out, too. Right now, it's much easier to fit two people than four people around, but we can easily make adjustments if needed.

Oh, and I'm hoping that before winter comes, we will convert the area next to the door into a small mud room. All the farm dirt can get quite messy and it would be nice to have a place to hang up coats.

Living area.

  • When we both want to watch television (lately we've been re-watching the The Office), one of us will usually lay on the couch, and the other will sit on the floor with some pillows. We have turned the couch once to face the telelvision but that isn't worth the hassle unless we want to get cozy during a movie or something.
  • Our 'coffee table' is a trunk that holds all our books and DVDs. It's perfect.
  • Oh yeah, did you notice the size of the television? Kyle knocked out a shelf and raised the cabinets just so he could fit the television in the space. He also has Wii hooked up, as well as a VCR and BluRay player. Boys and their toys. ;D

Bedroom.

  • The bedroom might be my favorite room of the 'house.' I don't know if this is because it's the coziest area, the green walls, or because it's the only area that's a separate room, but I love it.
  • The low ceilings are something we had to get used to -- can't lift your arms up to pull on a shirt unless you're sitting down! I think we've managed to stop bumping our heads on the ceiling, though.
  • Closet space? Minimal. We each have one little closet (see that mirrored door to the left of the bed? that's a closet), and three small drawers to put our things in. I also have some shirts stacked in the cabinet above the bed, and we both have clothes in a duffel bag under the bed.
  • And, oh! Our IKEA nightstand fit perfectly in the space next to the bed. Whew.
  • The bed platform lifts up and reveals a storage area! So thankful for a bit of storage. Our storage area has a couple boxes of 'childhood memories', our holiday decorations, and some clothes.
  • Oh my goodness, our cat. He is adorable but such a headache when he's hungry. Last year, we actually moved out of our studio apartment into a one-bedroom because we needed our bed to be in a separate area with the door closed. There is an accordian door for the bedroom, but it doesn't keep the cat out. He crawls right under it and pokes me awake in the middle of the night. We tried to put a baby gate in front of the closed accordian door and he still figured it out. Finally, we gave up. He still wakes me up at odd hours of the night. When our finances are better, we're investing in an automatic feeder -- maybe if he learns the food comes from the machine (bwahaha), then he'll stop bugging me. Sigh.

Bathroom.

  • After using various showers of friends and family while we were in Illinois, and walking over to Jordan's to use her shower the first couple weeks we were here, we finally figured out how to use our own shower! Woo-hoo! For some strange reason, the hot water wasn't coming in through the shower (although it was working in the rest of the RV). Then Kyle had the idea to turn on the 'cold water' knob and voila! Hot water! The previous owners must've switched the knobs. What a silly, simple thing. It's been soooo nice showering in the RV -- and it's actually kind of better than our last apartment because the water is always hot! Yay!
  • The tiny bathroom has otherwise been working out fine for us. We may not both be able to be in there at the same time to brush our teeth, but it still works -- and is fast to clean!
  • Oh, and dumping? We're dumping the greywater into the drainage ditch every week or so and using Jordan's bathroom as much as we can to avoid dumping the black water too often. A permanent solution will come when we've got the land more established.

Pets.

  • Cats -- we had the litter box in the bathtub but that was actually kind of messy and one of our cats couldn't figure out how to get to it.... so we moved it into the living area, in the corner by the dining table. Not really the best spot, but it's all we can do for now.
  • Rabbit -- Frosty's cage currently sits on the bottom bunk bed. He does have an outdoor hutch, but he's been inside more due to high temperatures and outdoor inexperience.
  • Bearded dragon -- his home sits on the floor towards the back of the RV. I have tripped over it on on occasion, and we do have to move it every time we close the slide-out, but he seems happy and we're OK with it.
  • Everything with the pets can be adjusted accordingly when guests are present.
  • All their food & stuff is stored on the floor of the back closet, or under the kitchen sink.

Laundry | Bunkhouse.

We don't have laundry in the trailer [anymore --- we sold our WonderWash and Spin Dryer to another couple living in a trailer]. We've been using Jordan's machines or going to the laundromat for large loads (like comforters). Oh, and we have a collapsable laundry basket that hangs on the back closet's door.

The bunkbeds are nice! The top bunk is ready for guests, and although Frosty occupies the bottom bunk, it can be easily made up for guests, too. We've also added a privacy curtain to block off the back area.

What about water, electric, and heat?

We have our RV hose (with a filter) hooked up to one of Jordan's water spickets. We also have our electricity plugged into one of her ourside electric boxes, as well. (Thank you sooooo much, Jordan!) We just have to be mindful of our usage -- and make sure we don't run the AC and the microwave at the same time! Whoops. Our propane tanks supply is good for now, too.

So.... what about the land?

Ah, yes, this. The land has already been graded. We put up an electric fence around the area we need to work on (to keep the nosy horses away), in addition to a little side gate and the main gate off the road! Yay! Now all we need to do is buy a trench pipe for road drainage and bring in some gravel to lay down. We also need to get a large propane tank on the land. All those cost money, so we are taking our time. Once that's done, we can move the trailer over! Hoping to do that before winter hits.

Oh yeah, we acquired four chickens!! Two beautiful black Austrolorpes re-named Lucy & Ethel, and two fluffy Ameraucana chickens named Tiger & Puff. Building a chicken coop is also next on our growing to-do list....

And there it is! All is good! Still lots of work left to do, but it's coming together. Any questions??

Much love.