Wednesday, August 3, 2016

New England

We played in the ocean.

 We had some fun.

We learned some history.

We went to quirky museums.

We visited quaint towns.

We also; sat in a lot of traffic, fought for parking, paid crazy prices to park at the beach ($20 a day!?!), and spent way too much money. Thank you New England, you are beautiful...but I must admit, when we drove away I felt some tightness relieving in my chest. Too many people, too much hustle and bustle...I'm not sure where people come from that this would be a place to relax! It took me a few days to relax FROM our trip!

If we had more time, we would have headed further up the coast towards Bar Harbor, and then onto Eastport. They were calling my name more...less people, more nature. Hopefully next year...but for now, we are headed West. (We made a promise to a little girl, and it must be kept.)

Changing what you love.

We knew that the next phase in our lives, after traveling, would be to settle down and start a farm. This is something the four of us have been planning for the last 3 years, and hasn't changed in the slightest. We didn't really know where we wanted to live, and since we're planning on staying (at least mostly) retired, we need a place that has; low taxes, low real estate prices, gorgeous landscape, moderate climate and relaxed homeschool laws.

Once you cross reference all these things, there aren't a ton of places that are left...which is good, because it pointed the way to the Blue Ridge. We fell in love with the area, and found a house we were ready to buy. Pre-civil war farmhouse on the river with 7 acres of woods and a barn. It was AMAZING. It was in our price range. offer, from someone else, got accepted on the day we were ready to put in an offer.

It was a blow that we're still recovering from a little bit.

But I learned something from this, something that is changing how we look at properties now. I think we loved it TOO much. At first, that seemed like a good thing. But in the end I think it blinded us to a few things. Because we loved it so much, we were making compromises that we didn't want to make. It was a big house. Beautiful, yes...but big. We said we didn't want a big house.

Plus, it was in a larger city then we wanted, and it didn't have a definitive central community feel to it. It felt felt impersonal. Too much shopping, too many chain stores and restaurants. We said we wanted a small community, with a personal feel.

It was on a busy road. Granted, there was property and it was on a river...but the house itself was near a busy road that you could hear all day long. We said we wanted to be far enough into the country that you don't hear traffic.

Ideally, you want to love your house, right? But what if you love it so much that you are willing to compromise your ideals? What if you feel tied to it? What if it keeps you from doing other things you want to do? After giving it some serious thought I realized, I don't want something I love SO MUCH that I feel like I can't let it go.

Because life changes, and I want to be able to change with it.

AND, it was stressing us out.

Oh my goodness, haven't we learned anything?

So I am taking this as a reminder to not let it happen again.

To stay the course.

To travel more.

To know that when we find something it should not make us compromise our values. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Where on earth have we been?

Sorry, I forgot to post...for 3 months.

I didn't REALLY forget.

I got wrapped up in other things.

Sound familiar?

Even in a life where we don't work, don't have obligations, appointments or expectations...sometimes you just get don't get stuff done.

Strange. It feels like we did this, in part, to have the time for anything we wanted. But, lately I feel like we don't have time for anything! Obviously that isn't true, I mean, jeez...we travel full time. We HAVE time. But somehow (just like regular life) time just gets away from you.

So here's the run down...

Most of May was spent looking at real estate in Virginia, Tennessee, West Virginia and Kentucky. We saw places we liked, places we loved, and places SO frightening that we're trying to forget them! We fell in love with a few, and were even ready to buy. Unfortunately, the two we wanted sold right as we were ready to start making offers. Sigh.

So, we decided to take a break.

We went to...

Climbing the rocks at Little Round Top

Bullet holes in the town from the battle.

Icecream. Cause, you gotta stop for homemade icecream.

Yes, he is wearing an entire Union uniform, made lovingly by his grandma.

Cousins having fun at Devils Den.

Hershey, PA

Gabe's graduation party, riding the rides at Koenobles.

Dunkirk, NY

Panama Rocks, western New Yorks best kept secret! Climb, explore, and be free!

We had so much getting lost, and then found at Panama Rocks!

Dunkirk lighthouse museum. We had a great tour of the house, the lighthouse and the grounds.

Treasure hunting in the woods.Laurel found an antique bottle of "Kidney Cure" from the 1800s!

Riding in grandpa's Model A.

New York City

The Firefighters Memorial at the WTC. As a firemfighter's wife, 
this especially hit home.

The WTC memorials are really quite a sight. I was surprised how much they 
effected me. Something about the names all printed out, and the way the water fell once, 
and then again. It was really beautiful.

Chinatown was a big treat for the kids. They really wanted to see the 
roasted ducks hanging in the windows.

American Natural History Museum, this place was a ZOO!

Little raptor baby. So precious.

Central Park is a perfect place to rest from all the walking!

Just a little statue riding in Central Park.

Central Park Zoo, and our new favorite sea lion.

Train ride back from NYC. It was sad to say goodbye, but we had a blast.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Southwest Virgina, who knew?

I have to say, I am a little smitten with Southwest VA. 

It's beautiful.

It's quirky.

The homes (with land!) are affordable.

 Having spent a good portion of my life in Northern VA/Washington DC I thought I knew Virginia. 

(Spoiler- I was wrong)

We have spent the last 11 days in Natural Tunnel State Park. We were fortunate enough to be here during two different events; one being an 18th century re-enactment weekend and the other being a Children's Fishing Derby (with archery and target practice) put on by the wildlife troopers. I figured we'd hit up the Muster Fair for a little while and then move onto the Fishing Derby. (I mean, come on...grown men dressed up like frontiersmen, pretending like they are REALLY in the 1700s?) 

Man oh man was I wrong. We stayed ALL day. This is one of those events that you really have to engage with each person in order to learn from we set ourselves the task of doing just that. I talked strangers. Not just strangers, but strangers in costumes. Not just strangers in costumes, but strangers in costumes pretending like they really were from the 18th century. And you know what? I learned a lot. I learned how to turn flax into linen, how to spin wool, how to make lye soap, tan a hide, basic blacksmithing...and as an added bonus we learned to speak some basic Cherokee and got to hear some awesome Cherokee and frontier lore. 

The people were so willing to let the kids participate.

Laurel looks happy...but really she was petrified, especially 
when the horse jumped over a log!

Us watching an old fashioned horse race.

We spent so many hours talking and interacting with all these guys that we decided to go to their church service the next morning too. It was a little awkward, as you can imagine...but also very cool. One of the guys was an amazing musician and singer, he pulled out no less than three instruments during the service, and gave every old church hymn an appalachian twist.  

Eventually we did make it over to the fishing derby, with just enough time for Luke to hit bulls-eyes with the bow and the BB gun...I guess being obsessively into a million hobbies pays off sometimes.

Besides looking at a whole bunch of properties, and falling in love with two, we also had time to visit some of the local towns, catch up on school work, hike, bike and do some crafting. Luke seems to be in his element here, he would wear his coon skin cap more...but it's hot. He's been inspired by the music, the crafts and the history all around us. He's started whittling whenever he gets the chance, and now he wants to build his own blacksmith shop. (He tried to convince us that he could start right away using the fire ring and our regular hammer...thankfully we convinced him that this was not a good idea.) 

Southwest VA...who knew?

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