2017

6 December Wednesday

These last few days have been wonderful! The boys finish school by about 1pm, they play outside while I make lunch (as long as it’s not raining), we eat, and then we have the rest of the day to read, color, play or rest! Max colored a t-shirt today and I started on another kitchen towel. Jack and Max have made a big marble tower and played with it several times. TJ has pulled his laptop out a couple of times and played games on it. It’s been so relaxing.

Monday Max told me he hadn’t completed his reading I’d assigned him for his book report…he had about 5 minutes left, but he’d had a week to finish it. He’d had time to play Legos, but not enough time for his book. TJ and I took away his Legos and are giving him different classics to read until Friday.

TJ’s still working on the new lock. This door has always need a push to get it to latch or unlatch. This new lock has a fob to unlock remotely, and that won’t work if we have to be there to push the door into place. I hope he can get it fixed…he can also program one of my truck buttons to lock/unlock the bus.

Today we went through all our keys and labeled them. We have a mini panic every time we get ready to go to the storage unit. Since each time is so far in between it’s hard to remember which key is which.

There’s a 40% chance of snow Friday! I’ll be so surprised if we see any…but the boys will be so excited!

7 December Thursday

I tried to return some pj’s I’d picked up for Max…they turned out too small. We’ve gotten really good at scanning in all the receipts from Wal-Mart, and then when I return something the receipt is on my phone. This time the lady scanned the receipt on my phone and it wasn’t there! And the pj’s were lower priced…I would lose $4 if I returned them without a receipt. Ugh. When I got home I scoured the truck and bus for the receipt, and when Tj scanned the pj’s in my phone (exactly like the lady at WM had done) he found them! Well, at least I won’t lose any money.

Then I took forever to figure out what size underwear Jack needed. While I was in that super narrow aisle (only big enough for a buggy, not for 2 to pass) and old dude came in the other end of the aisle and just started ramming my buggy! I just stood there and looked at him incredulously, and he said oh, is this your buggy? I said yes. He said oh, I didn’t know it was your buggy. Jack and I were the only ones in that aisle, and there was only 1 buggy, and we were about 5′ from the buggy. I said well, next time why don’t you say is this your buggy instead of ramming it? I’m not proud of myself, I should have been nice to him even if he was a butt.

I tried a new pasta recipe tonight…but it was a bust. Oh well. I like trying new recipes.

8 December Friday

I slept from 9:45-6:45!!!!

We just woke up and Jack keeps saying it IS snow! It IS snow table! It IS snow playground!

We did some school today, not a full day though; there was just too much snow to let it go to waste! In CO I kept saying I’d never seen such fat, fluffy, wet snowflakes. Well, God sure has shown me! These are even more fat, fluffy and wet! They’re beautiful. There’s almost nothing more peaceful than a quiet snowfall.

9 December Saturday

We hemmed and hawed a while, but decided to chance the roads to Jo’s. She’d asked if we would trade babysitting with her because they had tickets that were expiring soon. We dropped the boys off and headed to the Korean BBQ place for lunch. TJ didn’t want to risk being out after dark because of black ice, so we didn’t stay long at Jo’s. We stopped by Kroger on the way home to get some cokes.

We walked around the campground and discussed whether we were going to clean the snow off the roof or let it sit. Tj’s read that it starts to be trouble when it gets to 12″, but we can see that the weight has pulled the awnings over the slide outs all the way down. We just got that slide out awning fixed, I’d hate to mess it up again with all that snow! As we walked we saw 2 campers with their regular awning left out, now bent in half by the weight of the snow. Poor people. By the time we got back to the bus I’d had an epiphany…I should get up on top of the bus, not Tj. If Tj falls off and breaks something he wont be able to fly; he’ll likely miss work for 2 months. If I fall off and break something it’ll be a major pain, but we’ll muddle through. Tj didn’t like it, but it made the most sense.

He climbed up the ladder and swept a bit of the snow off, and thought it was doable. So I layered on as much as I could and got to work. Grandmom had given me some rubber mats so I took 2 of them to kneel on as I went along. I never stood up, just crawled along the whole length of the bus. In the end the long wash brush and the dust pan worked best for getting the snow off. As I pushed the snow off the previously broken awning it wound itself back up around the rod; we were so relieved! By the time I was ready to get down there was a new layer of snow I had to clean off to make my way back to the ladder. When we got finished we measured the snow on the truck and it was 12″!!! That’s more than we got in CO!!

10 December Sunday

We packed and moved today. Everything went fine at first, and then it went kinda haywire for a bit. The office took forever to check me out, but Tj wasn’t in a hurry. Of course by the time I got back to the bus he’d remembered he should be checking the tire pressure. And they were all low because of the low temps. And then the air compressor wouldn’t work. Then we tried the compressor from the truck and after it was all plugged in Tj remembered that it only worked with car power not house. Then after I’d put that up Tj figured maybe it was our beat up extension cord not giving us enough power, so I got us 2 cords to plug together and the big compressor worked fine. Then after he aired up the first tire he realized it was losing pressure…the hose had cracked. Then he could only air up 2 more and it cracked too much to get any air in. Wow! We drove on flatter tires then, and all was fine.

Then when we got here they’re only letting us pay weekly, not monthly, so it’s more expensive. And it took us about an hour to level! It never takes that long, but this site was a little wonky. This is only about the 3rd time we had to raise the back, but the driver’s side was also a little low. We put blocks in what we thought was the logical place, but every time we upped one side or end we completely ruined the level of the other side or end. Ugh. We tried 3 different configurations of blocks before we got it right. But hopefully this time we’re leveled for good! After we’d been in the last place for a couple of weeks I mentioned to Tj that the bus was leaning to the passenger side, and then he couldn’t not see it (though it hadn’t really bothered him up to that point). It was leaning so badly that my cakes baked unlevel! He re-leveled it and all was well.

Oh, when I was checking out the woman took a phone call. She was telling the caller lots of gripes about the old man who works the desk sometimes…said he’d really messed up the register and she should expect a migraine when she came in the next day. While she was talking she was adding my total and I caught her transposing the numbers, so she fixed that. Then she gave us back some money. Tonight after supper she called to say we actually owed them money. Heh. Who messed up the register?

11 December Monday

Today we did school, and then made foods to bring to Mom’s for supper tonight. Max packed his clothes to spend the week there, but then when we were 3/4 of the way there I asked Max if he had his school. Of course he didn’t. He asked Tj why he hadn’t brought his laptop! Max had packed everything but didn’t put his laptop next to the other bags he’d packed. Tj said well, I guess he can’t stay the week! I knew he was right, but oh the agony!

Our supper turned out well, despite some mistakes. I forgot to put the mushrooms on the Aussie chicken, and it cooked faster than I expected, but thankfully it was still moist and tasted great. Tj made stuffed mushrooms…those turned out great.

12 December Tuesday

Mom came and got me at 9am for thrifting!!! I bought 2 shirts, 2 jackets, black and brown boots, some shorts for Max and a sheepskin rug “for Jack”.

Tj took the boys to Mom’s and Max will spend another week there. At 4:15 we went to Jo’s to keep her boys. She and Ted had tickets to a dinner theater. Her boys were fine, but they went to bed before Jo and Ted got home. Tj ordered us a pizza for supper.

I’ve said all along that Jack gets enough knowledge of God and Jesus from us, so this is why I don’t mind if he goes into different grades of classes at church. I don’t depend on the church to teach him what he needs to know in this area. But I’ve realized recently that I’ve been lacking in my teaching. Maybe. I definitely haven’t taught him as much as Max knew by this age, but I also don’t think he’d understand as much. We’ve taught him that God made everything, and that God loves him, and that disobeying is wrong, but not anything more specific than that. The other day we were standing by the large nativity scene outside the Jellystone office so I told him who the people were. There have been a few other times we’ve talked about Mary and Joseph and Jesus. I’ve also started telling him that Jesus is God. Well, today Tj and Jack were looking at the phone and a picture of the president came up. Tj asked Jack who that was and Jack said God!! That made me feel like I still don’t need to give him much more information now!

16 December Saturday

Today we celebrated Christmas. Tj goes to work tomorrow so we headed to Mom’s a bit early and the boys opened their presents. Tj bought Max a Millennium Falcon “Lego” set! We bought him 3 shirts. Jack got a sheepskin rug and 2 cars.

Kelly, Avery and Eric were there. Jo and her boys, us and Mom and Papa. Merry Christmas! We ate fried turkey, sweet potato casserole, cheesy bread, green salad, broccoli casserole, dressing and Alton’s french onion dip. Jo brought flourless chocolate cake and lemon fluff. Kelly brought spiced nuts and peanut butter chocolate fudge. She also brought everything except the cream to make pralines. Sigh.

I thought all the snow was gone but saw some on the way to the theater. We saw the new Star Wars tonight! It was good, but not quite as good as Rogue One.

17 December Sunday

Snuggling with us this morning Jack said I’ll be a BB8. I’ll be a R2D2, a Yoda, a Leia, a Skywalker I want a lightsaber. After each thing he would make the sound they made. Ha!

Jack prayed for us this morning: thank you Daddy for playground, you’re welcome Jack for playground.

We left today to take Tj to the FedEx ramp. After dropping him off and heading off to the restaurant he told me that the electricity was cut off at the Atlanta airport and that his flight might be cancelled! The boys and I had supper at a Mediterranean place…yum! We had a gyro with mustard taziki sauce, greek salad, souvlaki and awesome seasoned french fries. When we’d just finished eating Tj asked me to pick him up! He’d considered driving to Memphis but there are enough flights that it makes more sense for him to try to get another flight tomorrow.

18 December Monday

Tj said last night that we’d leave the house around 10:30am to go back to the airport. But when he got up he decided we should leave right away. I already had a lunch place and menu picked out! Oh well. Max packed to stay again at Gran and Pawpaw’s, so we went there after the airport.

Oh, the airport. It was crazy! This time we went to Delta, not the FedEx ramp. Tj didn’t specify and Google sent us to the international terminal. We had to go 2 miles on the highway to get back around to the domestic terminal! And then when we got to the drop off area Tj just got out of the truck…the traffic was horrendous. I was in the 2nd from the right lane, and then someone on my left pulled across my lane blocking 2 lanes and had their people unload their luggage. People from the right lane then proceeded to cross in front of us and them to exit. It was so crazy! It was also crazy that the Atlanta traffic in general was less crazy today than yesterday. Who would’ve thought that Monday at 9:30am would be less traffic than Sunday 2pm?!

We went to Mom’s and spent a good while there. Max finished his Millennium Falcon. Mom fed us leftovers, and then we went to walk. When we left I took Jack to a Chic-fil-a playground for a couple of hours. When we got home I got busy doing all the things I do when Tj leaves…laundry, dishes, vacuuming, etc. It never ends, not even in a tiny house!

19 December Tuesday

Papa ground down my cast iron skillet the other day. Sunday morning I made funnel cakes for the 2nd time in it. Last night I put a couple of coats of grapeseed oil on it. It feels like glass! I got adventurous (and stupid) and cooked Jack’s egg on it this morning, and it stuck!!! Like concrete! I scrubbed it for at least 10 minutes with salt and the green scrubber and it’s better, but not great. I guess I’ll have Papa sand it again and then I’ll do the whole seasoning process in the oven.

Mom picked me up at 9am and we went to McKay’s in Chattanooga…what a store! I want to go there when we get a house and fill my new house with books! I brought back about 5 of those classics I’d bought Max at a Goodwill and got $4 store credit! I bought a few novel/recipe books and gave the rest to Mom. We went to 2 Goodwills after that, and then to a Goodwill outlet where some guy there told me how to really shop that place. I’ll be searching out outlets now! We had lunch at an awesome BBQ place, Thatcher’s. The brisket was wonderful, and I had fried green tomatoes and tater tots on the side. At our last Goodwill I found a robe…almost a kimono. I also bought a blue jean skirt that Mom will sew an edge on like Sara Lu’s. Oh, we also stopped at a foreign food place and I picked up a palate cleanser. It’s pretty yummy!

20 December Wednesday

Jack and I had an awesome rainy day. We did a little school, I pinned and wore my new kimono, and I cleaned out the whole bus looking for things we should put in storage. I read a good bit, and snoozed after lunch, Jack played marbles and magnets. It was wonderfully peaceful.

26 November Sunday

We stayed home from church today and watched FBC instead. It was nice to have a break. I was in a black place yesterday by the time I got Tj. He makes everything better!

27 November Monday

I finally made Jack ride his bike. I wasn’t sure how it would go around here, there’s blacktop but also pretty steep grades. There are 3 ovular roads that go around the campground. When we started riding I saw that the inner ring is fairly flat and only the outer 2 are steep. We walked his bike to the inner ring, and then he started crying when I made him ride! I couldn’t believe it. I fussed a bit, and we even had to go back to the bus for a minute. In the end though, he rode around the whole inner oval. I told him that if he could ride the whole way without fussing or crying he’d get some ice cream.

After he finished riding I let him play on the playground here. We brought 2 balls for him to roll down the slide. The playground is near a fenced in pond with trees encircling it and several ducks swim there. After he played a while he came to tell me he’d thrown his balls in the pond! He still has no concept of the fact that I can’t fix everything, and that putting his toys in hard to reach places sometimes means he loses them. When we were in NJ he took the 3 balls that came with the new toy Grandmom bought him and put them behind the baseboard under the kitchen cabinets!!!! They rolled back to the back of the cabinets, completely out of reach. Grandmom has a ball thrower for her dogs… basically a long handled cup. She leant it to me and I got those balls out. With the pond situation though, I’ve told Jack we can’t get that ball. Every time he rides his bike by the pond he mentions his ball. Crazy kid.

We went shopping for a few things tonight and then had burgers at Cook Out like in TN. They had just as good a flavor!

Tj bought us some awesomely thick steaks today. He’s gonna dry age them 3 days before cooking them. Yum!

28 November Tuesday

Braxton (or Joseph? Max later clarified it was Braxton.) came by today and asked where Max was. When he found out he wouldn’t be back before Friday he asked if Jack could go to the playground with him. I told him yes, but that Jack didn’t watch for cars so he should take care of him. As they were leaving he asked Jack if he wanted to ride his bike (since Braxton had his) and it was super sweet to see them both riding together!! Jack fell down and Braxton waited for him to get back on. So sweet!

30 December Thursday

Tj cooked our steaks for lunch today. I bought us another chimney starter for him to use. I made baked potatoes and cooked spinach for our sides. These steaks were the thickest he’s ever cooked and they came out great!

After a light school day Tj and I made another chocolate cake with homemade whipped cream, raspberries and black frosting. I made 7-layer salad…we’ll bring these two things to Gran’s tomorrow when we pick up Max.

1 December Friday

We left a little early to drive our next route…Tj got us a place only 20 minutes from Mom! It’s a good route except for the last 4 miles, of course.

Mom and Papa used their new-ish air fryer to fry the turkey. She also had beets, rolls and cauliflower fixed like mashed potatoes.

I brought my hair cutting stuff and after lunch I sat outside and had Mom show Tj how to cut my hair. He did a great job!

We looked in the closet at the stuff we’ve stored at Mom’s. I saw a bucket and wondered aloud if there were legos in there…and there were! Max spent a whole week in that bedroom and never thought to see what was in the bucket!

When Max got there last Friday he and Pawpaw put their heads together and came up with a plan for him to work and earn money…so they went to Wal-Mart the first night (black Friday) and Pawpaw fronted Max the money to buy a huge lego set that night. He played with his legos all week and could’ve had even more!

Around 4pm we loaded Max’s stuff into the truck and headed over to the storage unit to see how our stuff looks. It’s pretty cool seeing it all again. I’m only slightly grossed out by the number of dead roaches at each of the roach traps, but that’s because I refuse to think of it for too long. We dug around a bit and brought home a bean bag, some soap, and a couple of pj’s for Jack. Heh.

I so, so, so miss my wonderful bed. And regular sized kitchen. And, and, and…. But absolutely not enough to want to settle down in a house.

We counted the episodes of Lost we have left and it’s too many to finish before Tj goes back to work. Unless we watch 3 episodes a day. No.

2 December Saturday

I went to some thrift stores today, but didn’t find anything worthwhile. I bought groceries and came home.

3 December Sunday

Church was good. Nap was good. Nothing extraordinary about this day.

In the evening I got ready for school tomorrow and saw that Max has all A’s so far this year!!! We’ve had such a rocky time since CO, I’m thankful he’s been able to get some good work in. He’s even pulled his grade up a little bit.

4 December Monday

We had a good school day today. Tj got his door lock in today and started working on that while I went to the grocery store. Jack rode his bike 3 times around the inner oval without much fussing.

We went to the Georgia Express Diner again for supper. The last time we were here my chopped sirloin was awesome! This time it was overcooked. It still had a great flavor, but it was well done. I didn’t send it back because it tasted so good, and because it took so long for us to get our meal…I think they were having trouble in the kitchen.

5 December Tuesday

I realized I haven’t been taking my Flonase and I’m still doing good, thankfully.

TJ took the boys to get their flu shots today; I stayed behind and gave myself a mani-pedi. I tried to get Jack a flu shot when I got mine last week but GA law says kids have to have a prescription. Fortunately AL doesn’t have that law, and we’re 30 minutes from the border…so off to AL they went!

Jack just said my pants is tricky…he has trouble with the button.

I made pot roast like Mrs Paula tonight, but it didn’t turn out as good as hers. I cooked it in the instant pot for 70 minutes, and even though the meat was falling apart so much that I couldn’t pull it out of the pot, it was tough! TJ cooked it another 20 minutes and declared it perfect. I’ve adjusted my recipe and we’ll try it again! Oh, I also left out the onions!!!!!! Doh. But the celery, carrots and potatoes were awesome.

11 November Saturday

We went to eat at a nearby diner last night and the chopped steak was awesome! Pink inside, loosely packed, and tasted wonderful. This won’t be the only time we eat here.

Tonight we ate at another place. Jack and I split the fried chicken…2 chicken breasts. When I pulled the meat away from the bone it was pink inside! I asked the waitress if that was normal and she said she’d check on it for me. They warned me when I ordered that it would be 15 minutes to cook the chicken, so now would I have to wait another 15 minutes? While they discussed I told Tj I was pretty full with the appetizer and sides we’d had, and I’d just ask them to take the chicken off the bill and we’d pay for the rest. They brought the chicken back out, they’d fried it again (!), and said we didn’t have to pay for it. It was kinda dry by now, though. I brought it home to make buffalo chicken pizza with. Everything else there was great, though.

12 November Sunday

First impressions of a place are sometimes tricky. There look to be many full-timers here (read: many of these campers have a lot of junk around them). I know that’s rich to say…I’m sure all the stuff I have outside our camper looks like junk to other people, too. But last night there were campers right next to us who had music going past midnight!! I’m trying not to feel fatalistic after just one night here, but it’s discouraging!

And the water pressure is horrendous! Tj told me when he hooked it up that all he could get was 30 psi. That doesn’t sound too much worse than 50 psi which is our max, and I really can’t say that the kitchen faucet seems too low. But when I washed my hair it was horrible!! Fortunately Tj turned on the water pump and that made things fine. I’ll have to see what the office has to say about the pressure. And maybe the neighbors too.

Tj found us a church today. When we arrived they apologized…they were having a special service to honor their pastor who’d been there 25 years, so their start times were wrong! They’d bound and printed all his sermon outlines and gave a copy to each of the staff. It was pretty awesome. Another thing that stood out was the guy in front of us who had a tie with planets on it. When I complimented him he said his uncle had given it to him on his deathbed. Huh. Ok.

13 November Monday

Max had a pretty tough school day today. As awesome as this lifestyle is it’s hard on his schooling. He does really well overall, but times like this when school has been hit or miss several days or weeks in a row make it tough.

14 November Tuesday

School was better today. The first day back is always hard.

15 November Wednesday

Mom and Papa came to visit and brought lunch today. She said they’d bring pulled pork, so without telling her Tj and I bought cole slaw and fritos. She brought the same things!!! Now we have a lot of cole slaw to eat before we leave Friday!

Jack and I brought Tj to the airport tonight. Before he left he did so many things around here: fixed the shower inner dome, installed the railings for the boys’ bed and cleaned out the shower and kitchen faucet.

16 November Thursday

In school I asked Jack what that bird was and he said sausage! It was an ostrich. Heh.

We had a normal day, and Jo called around 8pm to double check tomorrow. I had to ask her to let me go…my stomach was hurting. The boys and I finished packing and got them into bed…and then I started throwing up!!! Ugh! I texted her that I’d probably be later arriving since I was sick. Finally around 2am I felt a little better, but still didn’t sleep well.

17 November Friday

We ended up leaving around the time I had planned. I thought I would be miserable all day…I was shakey this morning. Fortunately I was fine driving.

We went straight to Momee’s trailer and visited with Mom and Papa, Joelle, Uncle Rex and Aunt Donna. After a bit Aunt Donna went and got her sister’s golf cart and let Max drive around the ‘compound’ a while. He was in heaven!

When it was about time to go I had 2 bites of Papa’s fried fish, and then a banana and a little peanut butter. The only thing I’d had on the way down was 2 bananas and 2 pretzels. Jo and the boys and I headed out to the hotel. Everything was fine for a while, but then my stomach started cramping again! Nothing happened, but I was really miserable for a couple of hours.

18 November Saturday

We went to eat beignets with Kelly and Katie this morning. I didn’t eat anything. I’m gonna lay low again today and hopefully I’ll be back to normal.

Around noon we went to Sam’s and waited for everyone to show up. People there: Mark, Linda, Lainey, Mom, Papa, Uncle Rex, Aunt Donna, Sam, Kelsey, Becki, Peyton, Kelly, Katie, Jo, Me and my boys. Later Ronnie and his 4 kiddos with their 2 spouses and 1 grandbaby came. It was kinda like the good old days. There were lots of stories from Sam and Uncle Rex and Ronnie. Lots of good food…from the jambalaya shop and grocery store and homemade. Max got to drive the golf cart again, and Jack jumped a lot on their trampoline.

Sam told the shakey cheese story again…when he showed up the guy had spaghetti and sauce on his head. He claimed he just asked his wife for the shakey cheese and she unreasonably dumped the spaghetti on his head!!

Uncle Rex told about one of the two taxi drivers who had pulled over to rest. She was just ‘ressen on the highwray’ she told him several times. She hadn’t turned the engine off, and probably didn’t even have the car in park. He cuffed her and put her in the front of his car and waited a few hours for a tow truck. She griped and griped at him for doing this, and when she would slow down or take a breath he would raise his eyebrows at her and she’d start off again! What a punk he was! The divider between the front and the back was heavy and would slam down when he activated it. He told her if she didn’t hush he’d put her in the back. She didn’t hush and didn’t hush and he finally got tired of it. He’d even turned on his CB and let the people at the station hear her go on and on. Finally he’d had enough and told her he was putting her in the back, then he slammed down that divider and boy did she jump!! And then she kept begging him not to make her sit in the back but it was too late. Hahahah.

Another story was the time he pulled a dude over for speeding. His friend got out and was pleading with Uncle Rex to let his friend go with just a warning, it was his birthday, blah blah blah. After the guy talked a while and UR was writing the ticket he looked up at the friend and then slowly reached up and pulled a doobie from the guy’s hair!! The guy’s eyes got as big as saucers, and then he took off running! Lol.

Sam told about this massive dude, wrestler turned preacher, I think, having passed out after church due to health problems. He forcefully said he wasn’t going to the hospital, but his tiny girlfriend walked up to him and fussed at him; he quieted down and went to the hospital.

When Ronnie got there he told stories about how Uncle Rex would lie to get out of spankings, or how one time he and UR were told to go upstairs and wait for Momee to come up and spank them. When she got there and looked sternly at UR he just started snickering…and after a few minutes she let him go, but Ronnie got a spanking!!!!! I can’t imagine my parents just letting us go like that!!

It was so funny to hear about their childhoods and growing up years. They talked a bit about Mom’s old boyfriend, and just lots of other stuff. Fun times. It was a great reunion.

I ate 2 bananas, a pretzel, a bite of strawberry shortcake cake, and when I got back to the hotel an apple and a banana with peanut butter…to see if I was better. It’s looking good!

19 November Sunday

We went to eat beignets again, and I split a dish with Joelle…it’s looking good! Jack only ate half his serving! Crazy kid. Of course I’m worried about other people getting sick and it being my fault, but I didn’t think this was a thing.

We went to Murry’s and bought a bunch of sausage and a few other things to take back, and then we went back to the hotel. The boys got pretty antsy at the Coffee House while we sat, so I told Max he could watch TV as long as he ran in place during the commercials. Jo and I snoozed until it was time to go.

We ran through the drive through for the boys, and headed to church. It was so amazing to see so many people from my past! So many friends, and parents of friends. I couldn’t believe how many people’s names just popped into my head after not thinking of these people for years. It was so wonderful to talk to all of them, but sad not to talk to any of them as much as I wanted.

Ronnie started Momee’s service, and I could hear the shake in his voice. I can’t imagine losing my mom. Even if she was not comfortable and ready to go, it is still sad. Even though she is feeling so much better than she was, and is now doing so much better than me, I’m still sad. But happy at the same time. I’m grateful for the great witness she was, the Christian example she was to all of us.

After the service there was food in the other building, and more visiting. Ally took pictures of the 4 and 6 of us. When it was all over we went back to the trailer. Mom offered to keep the boys so Jo and I met up with her girlfriend Charlotte and had TJ Ribs. Yum! We stopped and bought a strawberry shortcake cake and brought it home to Mom. Sadly it didn’t taste as awesome as that one bite I had yesterday did. Oh well. It’s probably for the best.

20 November Monday

Today Jo and I are driving back home…but I left the @#$!! lights on in the truck and ran the battery down!!! @@##$$!!!!!! Will I ever learn? Probably not. The jump starter didn’t work the first two times I tried it, so I texted Papa to ask him for a jump. Then I read the directions again. The directions printed on the jump starter say the black clamp goes on an unpainted part of the body, but the directions in the manual say red to red and black to black. I remember reading the manual a year ago the last time I used this, but then Jo was iffy about hooking it up that way, and I don’t distinctly remember what I did. I asked Papa if it would be ok, and then tried it a 3rd time while he was on the phone and it started!! Woot!! I have got to get better at this!

We had an uneventful drive, which is exactly what you want. Jo offered to let us stay at her house but I just want to sleep in my own bed and be in my own home, you know? We stopped to check on the bus and I hooked up the water in the last few minutes of daylight. Everything looks fine!

Near her house on the way home was a Wendy’s so I went through the drive through for us there.

21 November Tuesday

I need a break! School today was just another first day back. We need some rhythm in our days. Hopefully it’ll slow down now.

22 November Wednesday

We headed to Jo’s around 10, and I brought chicken and wild rice soup. I also brought my sausage and cut it up and packaged it for freezing while there.

We had a nice, calm time, and when we got in the truck to leave Jack said he forgot his squid in Jo’s house! He’s actually telling me about things before it’s too late! Ok, he did this this time…hopefully it’s a trend.

23 November Thursday

School today was good, Max finished 6 units with all A’s! He didn’t finish all his projects, but what can you do? Mom was supposed to pick him up on her way home but she brought more stuff back from Momee’s than she expected so I’ll bring him to her tomorrow.

24 November Friday

The boys and I met Mom and Papa at lunch. She sent me a link to the place, but Google took me to an insc place!? They need to update the address on their website. When I typed in the address she gave me I chose Atlanta and it said it was an hour away!!! But I was so hungry! And frustrated! Fortunately I was really only a mile away or so.

After lunch we put Max’s stuff in their truck and Jack got his carseat out to go with them too! Poor boy. I told him we would watch Doodlebops when we got home…he was so excited! He put his seat back in and was ready to go. We saw a Chic-fil-a in the same parking lot so we went there first and he played on the playground with several kids.

On our drive back Jack said twice “I’m gonna sit tight.”

We stopped for groceries on the way back and I bought some premade cookie dough. I need a splurge these days.

I made Jack meatballs with french bread for supper. I told him we were having cookies after he finished up. He said you eat cookies, I want fried egg sandwich please. Silly kid. I gave him some cookies after he ate his fried egg sandwich.

Later that night he’d been in the bed for a bit, but then came and told me I spit the food in the bed!! Translation: I threw up. Wow! I’m sorry he felt bad but what a sentence! I checked and it wasn’t anything. I cleaned it up and he went to bed then.

25 November Saturday

Jack was in the other room playing. I heard him singing “My heart is to bring you praise.” I think we’re doing something right, thankfully.

29 October Sunday

We’re about an hour and a half out from Thor. A woman in a turn lane to our right just flagged us down to tell us one of our doors was open!! It’s the propane tank door which doesn’t lock, it just has latches to keep the door closed. I think that may mean we’re on the bumpiest roads we’ve ever been on if it knocked those knobs loose during this drive!

We’re almost to the Thor factory in IN and have now seen two Amish(?) horse-and-buggies crossing this 4-land divided highway! It’s a funny sight.

30 October Monday

Today we’re driving to Harrisburg PA. We had plans to stop at a Wal-Mart along the way and buy DVD players for the boys for this stupid-long drive, but we forgot we’d be on turnpikes the whole way and wouldn’t be able to easily get off and on again. Max is doing 2 days of school, though, so maybe it’s a moot point.

We stopped at a service plaza to gas up and get food. As we sat there eating a woman was cleaning nearby and Jack said, “Good job sweep up food off floor lady!” Heh. She didn’t hear him but it made all of us chuckle.

We checked in at the hotel and then had supper at a nearby Arby’s. We went back to the hotel and Tj took a shower, and then we took him to the airport.

31 October Tuesday

I thought I had 3 hours to drive today, but Google says it’s only 2!! Woot! We leisurely got up, ate the hotel breakfast and headed out. I called Grandmom after we got on the turnpike, but my call wouldn’t go through! I tried her several times, and then tried to call Papa just to test it out, but I couldn’t make an outgoing call. The recording kept talking about reconnecting my service. I didn’t want to wake Tj up so I figured we’d wait till we saw Grandmom.

We got to her house just fine and then I had her call me. Come to find out Tj didn’t pay our phone bill! At least that’s what I kept telling everyone. Heh. Actually our credit card changed and he forgot to change it over. Fortunately it was a simple fix.

That night we handed out candy to trick-or-treaters while we waited for Amanda to bring her kids so we could all trick-or-treat together. When she finally got there we could see that her mom had already taken them trick-or-treating without us! That was rotten. Amanda brought pizza so we all scarfed down a piece and headed out. Amanda was so cute with Jack; when I wasn’t right there with him she walked him to the door. Jack said ‘trick-or treating’ every time. Heh.

After a while Grandmom was ready to go back so Nicki and Eddie walked back with her and their new baby. Amanda, Justin, Dominic, Max, Jack and I kept on. After another little while I told Amanda I was fine to go back when her boys were tired out. My boys were getting tired, but also not begging to go on. Amanda kept us going on.

1 November Wednesday

Today at breakfast I had to chuckle. There was a woman with some special needs, but she was at breakfast by herself. She must have had at least one of everything for breakfast! There were 3 full plates of food, 2 full bowls, a yogurt and a banana, and I don’t even know what all else. I can totally imagine Jack doing that when he gets old enough to go to breakfast by himself!

After we were all ready we headed over to Grandmom’s…it was probably about 10am. We headed out to Wal-Mart and I got my oil changed there. Grandmom wanted to buy both the boys toys so we spent a good bit of time in the toy aisle. We had lunch at Subway while we waited for the truck to be ready.

We went back to Grandmom’s then and the two of us snoozed on the couch and chair while the boys played with their new toys. Then we took the dogs for a walk. Grandmom complained that she’d never taken all 3 dogs for a walk before…so why was she taking them all now? She gave me one to walk, but she didn’t like how I walked him. I was trying to use some of the dog whisper’s techniques on him (ha!), and Grandmom didn’t like that he was straining at the leash so hard. So she gave me a different dog, but I treated him the same way. I’m a bad daughter-in-law.

Grandmom and Max went to the school after-care program and got the boys so all 4 boys could play together. After a while inside we moved out the stuff in the back of my truck and all piled in to head off to a nearby park. It was closed! Ugh. We missed it by about 30 minutes.

My boys and I headed off to the hotel, but stopped at WaWa on the way and got supper. I got the Thanksgiving bowl Grandmom suggested and Max had a buffalo chicken sandwich. Jack and I split the bowl which had a base of mashed potatoes and stuffing, then turkey, gravy and cranberry sauce on it. It was pretty good!

2 November Thursday

Max slept hard so Jack and I got ready to go to breakfast. Max woke up while we were sneaking out so I told him where we were going and that I’d bring him some breakfast. As we were right at the dining room Max came running up in his pj’s! He’d locked himself out of the room to come ask me if he could watch some TV while we were eating. Cheeky! On our way back to the room I asked Jack to hold my water bottle and halfway there he said, “I drinked your water!”!!!! That boy is using more and more full sentences!

Before leaving the hotel I called Jo to see if she had more info on Momee and the memorial service than I had. It seems like the service won’t be this weekend no matter what, so that makes my life easier. I was a little stressed about leaving the boys with Grandmom and flying down to LA for that, so I can relax a little now.

Grandmom wanted the boys to go to a park today so I set up the GPS to take us there. I didn’t check the weather before we set out, and it was hot! We stopped by WM to return some stuff and bought Jack a short sleeved shirt. While at the park a reporter asked if he could take the boys’ pictures and put them in the paper! Famous boys!

When it came time for supper we decided to have Mexican, but Grandmom said we shouldn’t got to the place I found on Yelp because it was in Camden. I told her (I’d spoken to Tj about it) that it was on Camden Ave not in Camden and she seemed ok with that. She’d found another place but it had all kinds of food, the one I found only had Mexican, and purported to be authentic. From our conversation I thought we agreed to skip her restaurant and go to mine. When Ryan came in she told him we were going to her restaurant. When I corrected her she got annoyed. Now we’re not having Mexican. Ok then.

Grandmom rummaged around and found mac and cheese, hot dogs and Red Lobster cheese biscuits, so that’s what we had. I made the biscuits while she made the other things. Max slept over tonight.

3 November Friday

On the way to Grandmom’s today I stopped to get gas. I forgot until I was pulling in that I can’t pump my own gas in NJ. Man, that’s a strange feeling just sitting there while watching a guy do what I’m perfectly capable of doing. He was kinda snotty when I asked if I needed to go in to swipe my card. Whatever, jerk. He didn’t have any newspapers so I went to WaWa to get 2 papers with the boys’ pictures in them.

While we hung out at Grandmom’s for a while I started cleaning out a closet for her. Dianne and the girls seem to buy so much stuff and then leave it and buy more. This closet was chock full of scrapbooking and other art supplies. It was fun to take whatever I wanted…within reason, of course. Not living in a house does have some disadvantages. The other day I shopped in Grandmom’s basement and found a Swiffer steam mop that Grandmom let me have.

Today we went to Chuck E Cheese and the boys were in heaven. We snoozed again at Grandmom’s, and then went to Ken’s store to pick up supper. I’m so amazed…it’s an awesome looking store! We went on Sam’s house after. We had an enjoyable time at Sam’s until Max lost my keys!!!!!!!!!! Ugh. At least I have Tj’s spare keys, but I tore Sam’s house up! I did find an old iPhone that Sam let me keep, but no keys. I wasn’t good company after that. The crazy thing (to me) is that while I was outside looking for the keys Sam and Grandmom were inside setting up a game! Whatever.

4 November Saturday

Grandmom came to the hotel today to hang out. When I had her and the boys set up at the pool I went out to the truck to tear it apart to find my keys. No luck. But I did find the stretchy fence that came with the truck that will keep stuff from falling out when we open the back. Why haven’t I been using this all this time???!!!

We had lunch at the hotel of stuff from Ken’s: cheese lasagne, chicken pot pie and chicken coconut soup. They were all amazing, but my favorite was the lasagne. Then we drove to Sam’s to do more looking. I found their rake and sent Max to rake the whole front yard. After about 10 minutes, as I was praying, I looked up in the tree and there they were!! When I exclaimed Max said oh yeah, now I remember hanging them there!!! Oh my word. Sadly that sounds exactly like something I would have done. Exactly. This family is doomed.

We headed to the trampoline place, but when we found out we’d have to wait 2 hours I balked. We went next to get Jack’s glasses repaired (a screw fell out of them last night), and then we went back to the hotel. The boys were happy to play with their things. It surprised me that when I asked Jack if he wanted to go swim he said no.

For supper we went to Buffalo Wild Wings. We drove separate cars so after supper the boys and I went home for showers and bed.

5 November Sunday

We went to church with Grandmom, and the music was rocking! I wish I had made Max stay with us…the speaker was wonderful! He was a missionary in Muslim countries and had several stories of how the faith of him and his wife had been tested. Max went with Jack to be his helper. After church we had lunch at Cherry Hill Diner. The waitress was a real pill…she was in a mood and let us know it! Max got hot wings and Grandmom, Jack and I split a special with crab cakes that were wonderful. With our meal we also got a salad, two sides (beets and fries) and a dessert. Yum! Grandmom went on home and the boys and I split a piece of German Chocolate cake that was pretty good.

We went back to the room to nap after I bought tickets for the Alton Brown show!! Tj arrived while we were napping…it’s so good to have him back! When Jack woke up we headed over to Grandmom’s. We ordered cheesesteak for supper and visited a while. We brought clothes for the boys and they spent the night there.

Alton Brown’s show wasn’t at all what I expected. Although, honestly I had no idea what to expect. He sang and told jokes, bantered with the crew and the audience a bit too. One of the guys made him a drink and then he brought out a Price Is Right wheel and choose someone out of the audience. She spun 3 wheels to choose 3 ingredients of her drink, and it was nasty! All 3 ingredients were on the bitter side. AB said he would add 1 ingredient that would change the taste of the drink…nitrogen. He turned the table top upside and the supports made channels the length of the table. He poured the nitrogen into those channels to cool the metal. Then they sprayed the drink into those channels and it froze…now she basically had a slushy. Fun!

The second half of the show he talked about popcorn. He came out with a huge light, probably at least 4′ in diameter, with popcorn kernels all over it. He and 2 of his guys sang while it popped all over the stage. More happened, but overall it was a good show. It was nigh on to midnight when we made it back. Grandmom said we needed to be at her house by 9am to get the boys. Heh.

6 November Monday

We got up early to bring breakfast to the boys but Grandmom said no need. Tj made himself a breakfast sandwich and we headed over there. We just hung around a while and then found out that Ken’s shelves were in. Grandmom and Ken insisted that we needed to rent a truck to pick up the shelves but we unloaded the back of our truck and I drove it to FMP following everyone else in Grandmom’s car there. The shelves fit with a lot of room to spare, and we shopped a little too! We got a replacement thermometer and 2 pizza screens.

When we got to the store we offered to put the shelves together, and so we did. They weren’t hard, and it was fun to be in the back. Grandmom and the boys ate while Tj and I did that. When we were finished we nibbled on the unwanted half of Grandmom’s sandwich. I talked to the lady behind the counter, and she offered to make us an anti pasto plate, and boy was it awesome! We also shopped a good bit and got everything at half off. I told her I wanted to pay full price and she said that even the employees got half off, so that’s what we paid.

We hung out at Grandmom’s house for a bit and then she went to pick up the boys again to play with our boys. Before their mom came we left to go to the Iron Hill Brewery for supper. Grandmom was whipped, but she said Amanda didn’t come get the boys until after 7pm.

7 November Tuesday

I washed 2 loads of clothes here already. I didn’t mean to, but the first time Jack wet the bed slightly. I washed the second load because Grandmom was washing her things but had plenty of room for our stuff so we threw them in. But then this morning Tj spilled coffee on 1 of his 3 shirts so we did a 3rd load.

We went to the bank for Ken today, and then went to a super WM to get a sewing machine for Grandmom. On the way she needed to send a text to Ken saying she had his meds. Since she didn’t have her glasses handy I offered to text him for her. I sent: Yo Dawg! I got your drugs! Hit me up when you want them. Heh. I laughed a lot more than that warranted. I don’t think he laughed, though. He went home to get them but we weren’t home! So we went to the store to hand them over.

We were starving by this time, but we drove back near Grandmom’s house and ate at the Mexican restaurant I’d found a few days ago. The people working there were Mexican, and the 2 tables of people eating there were all Mexican, too. I think that’s the sign of an authentic ethnic place…when the customers are the same ethnicity as the place. It was awesome food, too. Tj, Jack and I split 2 plates with carne asada, chorizo, chicken, shrimp etc.

We went to Grandmom’s and messed around. Tj looked at Ken’s computer and is hoping to help Ken design and print his menus. After a bit Ken asked Grandmom if we’d go to BJ’s and get him some flour. We left Max behind so he could get a ride in Ryan’s Charger. Jack, Tj, Grandmom and I perused BJ’s and we bought some mints, brownies and cookies. Yum!

We brought Grandmom back to her house and then said our goodbyes!

8 November Wednesday

Today was our 13 hour drive from NJ to IN. At our first stop 4 hours in I got a text from Papa that Momee had just died. Mom has been with her in LA for at least 2 weeks so we knew this was coming, but….you know how it is. I know she’s better off now. I know now she’s not disoriented or in pain, but I’m still a little sad. She hasn’t been the Momee I knew for many years, but that’s the Momee I miss. I’m thankful that we had many years of assurances that she was saved, so we don’t have that to worry about. But it’s still a little sad when your grandmother dies.

When we got off the highway and were on our last 30 minutes we stopped at a convenience store and bought a gallon of milk and some doughnuts. We’re hoping to not have to unhook the truck for the next two or three days…however long we take to get to GA.

The Thor guys had set up the bus with the front tires off the ground, so we releveled. They also left the heat on at 72. Heh. This place was warm! We quickly turned that way down and set up. They’d shut off the water but filled up our fresh water tank. The crazy thing was that this was the first time that the back bedroom stayed cold all night. Usually, even in almost freezing temps, we crack the windows back there. But not tonight!

9 November Thursday

We had our walk-through with the Thor guy early this morning, and then we hit the road. We didn’t have a definite stopping point in mind, so I called a place while we were on the road and the guy said they had plenty of spots so he didn’t take a reservation.

We saw that our mid-day gas stop had a Denney’s so we made the most of that. We were surprised that we were there almost 2 hours! Tj gassed up, then we moved to a parking place, and then we had a nice, sit-down meal. My chicken fried steak with white gravy was awesome, and the mashed potatoes with white gravy were also awesome! Honestly, we’re all so tired from these last few days, this was a nice break.

We set up at the campground while the boys played at the playground. Tj ordered us a pizza and we got into bed early tonight. I think we were both asleep at 9:30!!

10 November Friday

Jack woke us up this morning around 4:30 coughing violently. I thought maybe he slept so hard with his mouth open and it had all dried out. He was thrashing around and not making eye contact, but didn’t seem like he needed to throw up…I figured all that coughing would make him throw up, though. I got the dish towel and held it to his mouth. After he didn’t quit Max jumped out of bed and got me a bowl, and when Jack still didn’t settle down I called Tj to come. I couldn’t hug Jack and keep that towel at his mouth so I thought Tj could hug him. It didn’t help much, though. In the end he did manage to spit up a bit, but I don’t think he vomited. We brought him back to our bed with a towel, but he didn’t settle down to sleep. Tj got him a Tums and I let him have a little water. When he still didn’t settle down I made him go to the bathroom though he kept saying he didn’t want to. He laid on the floor while I went, and then I kinda forced him onto the toilet. He went to the bathroom and then he really threw up. I feel kinda bad that I forced him, but at least now it was over! We changed his clothes and wiped him off, Tj threw everything in the washer (a nice perk of living in a tiny space is that it’s all right there), and then we went to bed. He took just a few minutes and then he slept, and we all slept.

Now we’re on the road to GA. We slept last night at Dad’s Bluegrass Campground, and hopefully tonight we’ll set up our spot for the next month and a half! This last month or so has been so tiring…we’ll all be glad to settle down for a bit.

13 October Friday

We sent the boys out to play at the playground and we got all packed to go. I drove the first part of the trip separately and made one last stop here in CO. I called Grandmom and visited with her while I caught up to the boys.

We got to the campground in Amarillo and got just about all set up and then the smell! There’s obviously a cow farm upwind somewhere. Yuck! I hope this smell isn’t here the whole time!

I pulled out most of our leftovers for supper while we watched Lost.

14 October Saturday

Tj woke up early and went to get doughnuts for us…the boys never woke up! After he’d been back 30 minutes or more we finally heard some stirring. We all had doughnuts and chocolate milk a la Monmon. Yum!

Our first stop today was Cadillac Ranch, and of course we forgot our spray paint! They were selling it for $4/can at the gate but we passed. Then a woman offered us her partially used can. Awesome! We all sprayed a bit, I sprayed an arrow. Max climbed some nearby hay bales, and then we headed back out. The spray paint guy had cross-sections of the paint made into necklaces and key rings, and even though they were really pretty we passed on those too.

We went to the RV museum next. It was so cool to see so many very old RVs. A lot of them reminded me of Monmon’s old apartment…so much of the cabinetry was made of varnished plywood. We also bought another light switch (of the kind that are always going out) to have on hand, and saw some cool camping chairs that we later ordered online. We shipped them to Jennifer’s house and they’ll bring them to camp for us. Awesome friends are awesome!

We headed out to Palo Duro Canyon next, but it was drizzling. Fortunately 1/4 of the way there the rain stopped and the weather was beautiful out there. We stopped at a mom and pop hamburger stand and had a small lunch. Jack spilled his coke on me there! That’s the first time that’s happened in a long time, thankfully. When we got to the canyon we walked and hiked a bit. On the way back I went to call Hometown Auto in Bebee to see if I could get an appointment…and then Tj and I got into a great big ‘discussion’ about the stupid calendar. It really annoys me that the calendar changes all my appointments when I cross timelines. If I want an appointment for 2pm on the 17th that’s when I want it…not for it to change to 3pm and cause me to miss it because I was in CO when I made it and will be in AR when I attend it!!!!

It almost made us yucky with each other, but then I realized we’re different people. What’s important to Tj isn’t important to me, and vice versa. And that’s ok. It’s normal. It would be strange if we always agreed on everything. But sometimes it’s hard to just let it go, and let each other be different. Tj sees my anger and frustration at the program as frustration at him. Ugh. Humans. Both of us.

We got over it, though, and then went to the Big Texan for supper. Ummmmm….steak.

15 October Sunday

We left the camp about 10:45. Fortunately the smell from the first day was pretty much a one-time thing. We caught a whiff of it once or twice more but that was it.

We just passed the Britten water tower leaning over! One of it’s legs is completely clear of the ground which makes me think it’s not supposed to be leaning at such an angle!

One thing I forgot to mention about Colorado is that it’s the place with the awkward entrances to stores. You can see a store from a semi-main road, but then you have to drive all the way around to the side or back of the building to find the entrance! That was annoying the first few times till we figured it out. And then it was only slightly less annoying. Heh.

In other news I’m still taking my Flonase and it’s working for me now.

16 October Monday and Tuesday

We got to Mt Magazine Monday evening. Tuesday and Wednesday we did school until lunch and then drove and walked to various overlooks. There’s just something about looking out over to other mountains that is so beautiful and serene. We went to The Lodge and sat outside and watched the hang gliders lazily soar…sometimes below us and sometimes above. I’d like to do that some day.

Each day I made a couple of recipes for camping this weekend: Italian Pressed Sandwiches, Mom’s enchiladas, pizza dough and chicken for Buffalo chicken pizza. TJ made Alton Brown’s chili for Frito chili pie. Sometimes while I cooked Tj and Max played with our new Recoil set. The second day TJ wiped out! The palm of his hand is torn up…he’s gonna be sore tomorrow!

One day we did a little hike to the highest point in Ar, Signal Hill. It was cool to see a map of AR set into the ground with rocks.

19 October Thursday

We’re driving now to Petit Jean for church camp! The Jones are on their way too. We stopped at WM for some last minute things and should be there within the hour.

Later:
What a wonderful time Church Camp has been, even better than usual. Of course I appreciate it more now seeing all these friends we haven’t seen in a while, and getting to spend a whole weekend with them. I went on fewer walks than ‘usual’, but I did play kickball with Amy and the Burlesons, etc. I made homemade cinnamon rolls Friday morning and I had to add probably a cup of flour to the dough! I’ve never had to add any flour, I guess it was the humidity. Speaking of which, we slept with the windows open the first night, and then saw that there was 80% humidity in the bus! We ran the dehumidifier after that, and slept with the a/c on to help it out.

JP and JJ brought their Recoil guns so several times adults and kids got to play this weekend.

The weather was great till Saturday night. All of the tent campers went home except for the Addison’s future son-in-law, poor sap! One camper camper left because they didn’t want big limbs falling on their camper. I laughed, until that night I heard bigger thumps on our roof than ever before. Thank the Lord there was no damage though. We had lots of campfires, and pecans, and the kids played games in big groups. It was just a wonderful time!

We and the Joneses stayed till Monday morning and then went to David’s on the way home. Afterwards I drove ahead to the base and picked out our site. When he was finished setting up Tj took the boys to the hardware store to buy a new motor for the back bathroom fan. That night I went to Jennifer’s for girls night. I brought all the shirts I was considering using for our family pictures the next day and got the girls’ approval. We watched a few episodes of This Is Us, and I gave the girls their Christmas presents. I stayed up till 1:15am without it even being a struggle! But that’s not to say that I do that usually, I’m still a morning, not a night person. I did two loads of wash while there, which was nice.

Tuesday morning I had a massage scheduled with Christy Materna, and she’s as awesome as always! Man, that felt good! While Tj did school with Jack he said he got an A percent!! I guess he’s heard Max shout out enough that he’s gotten an A 100% that he felt like he should get one too :-)

When I got back I ate a hurried lunch, and then we went to get Jack’s ID. Jack and I took a nap after that, but Tj stayed up and worried about his schedule. We were sure we’d be going to NJ after dropping the bus off, but his schedule had him flying the entire time we planned to be in NJ. Ugh. That night he went out with his guys for some Recoil and supper. Fun!

Wednesday morning we met J Alford for family photos…I hadn’t thought about it being 9am and how cold it was then!! Tj and I had short sleeves on and it was in the 30’s! Doh!

From there we went to the church and visited a bit, then to First Street Cafe for lunch. Sadly I think they’ve changed management and their Reuben isn’t what it used to be. And they no longer had the awesome fries they used to have! Makes me so sad. We shopped at Dirt Cheap for a bit and bought Max 3 pairs of shoes and Jack a new school book.

We went home for a nap, and then we met the Hoopers so Tj could present him with a saber from the Academy. Tj feels disappointed that we gave it to him at a restaurant, but I felt like presenting him a gift from us to him in front of a group would be showing off. After handing it to him we realized that the handle was bent!!!!! Great! We give him something with a lot of meaning and it’s broken!! Fortunately Tj called the AOG and they said they’ll send Greg a new one with return postage for the broken one. I’m so thankful they didn’t make a fuss at all about that!

27 October Friday

We drove from AR to MO today. It was a pretty short drive, and pretty easy, too. The hardest part was getting onto 67/167 right at the base. All the construction has the onramp there shorter than normal, and the concrete barricades make it hard to see the traffic, and the rain had fogged up the windows a bit. I sat with Max to help gauge the ongoing traffic.

When we got set up at the campground in MO Tj and I each confessed to the other…he had forgotten the pin on the drive from Petit Jean, and I hadn’t been careful when checking the traffic coming out of a parking lot. Whew! The Lord has been good to us!

We’re eating lots of leftovers today to empty the fridge before we leave the bus at Thor. At 8:30pm Tj unhooked the water hose outside…campground rules. We followed the rest of the 30 degree weather checklist, but slept with the propane heater set to 60 and our windows cracked…it gets so hot in our bedroom. Everything worked fine this morning when Tj hooked our water back up. We won’t have sewer hookups tonight, and the following night we’ll spend at Thor so we’re planning all that out too.

On top of all that Tj can’t find a campground close to Mom with long-term stay, and we don’t want to talk to her right now. It seems like Momee is on her deathbed. Mom is in LA for the time being.

28 October Saturday

Jack came and got into the bed with us this morning. He was pretty quiet, but his lips had color so I didn’t think he was sick. He seemed so quiet and sad, though. I played ‘Shake It Off’ thinking a happy song would set him to rights. We got out of bed and I started getting ready to make him an egg sandwich. After a minute he still looked so sad. I sat down and hugged him and then he had a few tears roll down his cheeks!!! My poor baby!! When I asked him what the matter was he just said I’m happy. Poor kid. He just can’t tell us what’s wrong. Nothing will break your heart more than to see this usually happy boy so unexplainedly sad, and to know that we can’t help the root cause of his sadness. But it’s 2 hours later and we’re driving from MO to IL and he’s laughing uncontrollably.

Tj and I wracked our brains, and the new plan now is Tj and I will drive toward NJ Monday after the walk through with Thor. He’ll catch a plane to work in Harrisburg PA and the boys and I will spend the night there and continue on to NJ the next morning. Tj will fly into NJ Sunday night the 5th, and we’ll make our way back to Thor Wednesday the 8th. We’ll head down to GA when Thor is finished. On the drive today I called 3 places and finally found a place an hour and 12 minutes from Mom’s. I was hoping to be about half an hour from her place but beggars can’t be choosers! The closer places to her wouldn’t let us reserve until 2 weeks out and they were full then, so we’re still on several waiting lists. I don’t know if it’ll be a good move to move the bus closer to Mom if a spot opens up. Lots of ‘we’ll see’ like always.

When we got to the campground tonight Tj stopped short of the office and I ran up to it to check in. As I was passing this car stopped nearby the woman in it started shouting, “Hang on hang on hang on!!” I kept running because I had no way of knowing that she was shouting at me, but she was! She was the camp host, and they were leaving for the season. She told us how to find our site, and then they left. Well. We found it, but it was an awkward setup. We drove around to look at the one pull-through site thinking we could do like we’ve done the last two nights and just not disconnect the truck, but there was no water at the pull-through. Then we looked harder at our site and Tj tried to pull forward into it and the electrical line wouldn’t reach. We started looking at all the sites and most didn’t have water. There were a few communal faucets with ‘no permanent hookup’ signs…ugh. Then Tj had the brilliant idea to use the camp host site!!! We hooked everything up while the boys were at the playground, and just crossed our fingers that we wouldn’t be called out on it. We worried a few times as we saw this guy dressed up like a ranger come around, but I think he was just exercising.

When the boys came home from the playground Max startled a deer! It was cool to see their little white tails running off into the forest right in front of our bus.