Live Lightly Meets Cage Free

Yes, yes…we are still alive! We have been B-U-S-Y with the remodel of the new RV…and my blogging is the first thing to go when we get busy. Hang with us…I’ll be posting more regularly again very soon. In the meantime…here is some fun stuff for you.

This week, I just happened to check the Cage Free Family’s website and realized that they were only an hour away from us in northern Minnesota (Jeff and Aimee were the featured family in the New York Times article that I linked to awhile back). I emailed Aimee and extended an invitation for them to swing by just in case they had time. They took us up on the offer and we spent one night as neighbors…laughing, talking about life on the road, painting, playing in the dirt, sitting around the campfire, eating watermelon, swimming in the lake…and more. Our visit was much too short, but we were happy to be with them anyway! Bella and Quinn had so much fun playing together…of course, that was after Bella loudly declared (immediately upon meeting them) that she wanted a “SHE” to play with and not a “HE. She forgot that right away as soon as she realized that she had a new biking buddy.

They were also dropping a friend off at the airport in Minneapolis. Their friend was Mark, a 17 year old from Austria. Mark was spending just one month in the U.S. and he was flying back on August 4. It was fun to meet him as well and discuss the differences between Austria and the U.S. Such as the price of organic apples. Don’t get me started. :)

Here are some photos of our time together…I’m sure our paths will cross again in the future! Happy trails Cage Free!

Reflections From The Road: Months 3-6

Transitioning back to our Traveling Lifestyle
In a few days, we will set out on the second leg of our tour! We’ve been “off the road” for almost 3 months now, and we are anxious to get moving again. On Feb. 18, we flew back into Raleigh, NC from Minneapolis, MN…staying overnight at Patrick and Jen’s house and then continuing on to Florence, SC (Becky and Rocky’s) where the RV has been parked.

When we arrived at Becky and Rocky’s house…we were excited to move back into our home. We had really missed having our own space and our own king sized bed! It was a pretty easy transition, although when you haven’t been living in that small of a space for awhile, it takes some re-adjusting! We discovered that that fridge door had closed inadvertently, and it was full of mold. Yuck! It took many hours of cleaning and soaking and scrubbing to get it ready to fill with food again. I had stopped at Whole Foods in Raleigh to stock up, so I had to load everything into Becky’s fridge first and then back into our own later.

Another fun thing was that our kitchen faucet was leaking water everywhere when we turned it on. Matt needed to do some work on the counter top before re-installing a new faucet, so we ended up being without running water for several days. Of course, we were able to take showers and wash dishes inside the house, but carrying them back and forth was a nuisance. I am TRULY thankful for running water. You don’t even realize how much you love it and need it until it’s gone! I am so humbled to think of all the women around the world who have to walk miles and miles to a well to carry water back to their homes every day. Isn’t God good to teach us thankfulness in such an unexpected way?

We found that we had accumulated quite a lot of “stuff” in our travels and consequently, the RV was busting at the seams. We filled several boxes with clothes, shoes, and toys and made trips to the Salvation Army so we could actually move around the RV. Bella grew so much while we were gone…she outgrew many of her clothes too! I always have to remind myself that we really don’t have much stuff…we just have a really small living space! It always feels sooooo good to make space and to give away things we aren’t using anymore.

Physical and Spiritual Renewal
When we left the RV on Dec. 12, we didn’t know that we would be spending 6 weeks longer than we had planned away from it. As we were flying out, we got a call from Matt’s parents…asking if we would be able to stay longer and help out while Matt’s dad had back surgery. Of course, we said yes! We had only purchased a one way ticket to get home, so God had all of this perfectly worked out and planned long ahead of our knowing it.

We had a wonderful time at Christmas and New Years’ with my family in Iowa and then headed up to Minnesota to be with Matt’s family for the next 6 weeks. The time we spent there was such a blessed time…but it was a big change from what we were used to. Every day was virtually the same…with a few variances here and there. When you are used to something new happening every day on the road, we had to adjust a bit! Once we got into the swing of things, it was clear that God intended that time to be one of physical and spiritual renewal for all of us.

We were able to make some much needed changes to our diet, and we started working out again regularly. The routine of each day made it so easy to have a consistent daily time in God’s word and in prayer. Matt was also able to play on the worship team at church and lead worship for a father/son retreat at Camp Shamineau. We had lots of hot tub time and Bella learned to ice skate. The wonderful, quality time she was able to spend with Grandpa and Grandma was so precious. By the time we were leaving, we were completely rejuvenated and refreshed…ready to hit the road again. All of the changes we made in our life have been easily continued now that we are back in the RV.

About a week before we were to fly out, we received word that my Papa (my mom’s dad) was experiencing complications from Parkinson’s Disease. He passed away a few days later. The funeral was the weekend before we had booked tickets to fly back to Raleigh…again, we saw God’s hand in the timing. We had booked that return flight quite randomly based on a “guess” of when we would want to return…but it was exactly the timing needed to attend the funeral across the state, and get back to Minneapolis to fly out.

After the funeral, my family joined us in Minneapolis and we had a great time there celebrating Matt’s 30th birthday and enjoying each other’s company. It was so hard to say goodbye, but we have plans to meet up with my parents in Phoenix, AZ in late April….and will hopefully see my 4 other siblings around the country somewhere as well.

We were definitely looking forward to leaving the cold temperatures of the Midwest and getting back to warm weather! However, we had no such luck! North and South Carlolina have been unseasonably cold while we’ve been back…it was actually the same temperature here in Florence as it was in Bozeman, MT yesterday! 50 degrees! Brrrrrrr! It was 25 degrees overnight…and our heater just died too. Luckily, we have other heaters we can use…but boy! How far south do we have to go to find some warmth!!?

I’ve added many photos to our Minnesota sets. Click here, here and here for those albums. I will be posting more of Florence soon.

We have just a few more days here…we head to Lexington, SC on Monday to “officially” re-start the tour. We have so many fun families to see and events planned…we’re really looking forward to meeting everyone. Check the Route page for updates on our locations!

Off we go!

Flying Back to The Cold

We left the RV in Florence, and drove the car north to Raleigh, NC, where we spent the night at Bart’s house. The next morning, he drove us to the airport and we were on our way towards cold weather! After a nice little layover in Atlanta, we arrived at the Minneapolis airport right around supper time. We called Dan, Matt’s uncle, for a ride and he confirmed he was on his way. After gathering our bags and digging all of our cold weather gear out of the suitcases…we headed outside. Brrrrr! It was about 70 degrees colder in Minnesota than in South Carolina. As we were loading everything into Dan’s truck, I heard a familiar whistle in the distance. I spun around and there stood my parents! They had decided to drive the 3.5 hours to Minneapolis from Des Moines and surprise us. What fun! My parents are a little crazy like that, and that’s why I love them so.

They spent the night and we headed out the next morning for a fun time on the town. We hit Dunn Bros. Coffee on Grand, Bibelot (my favorite store!), and the best Goodwill I’ve seen for awhile. We also took a trip to see my sister’s new office, and made a few more stops before they headed back to Iowa. Here are some photos of our time with them.

That weekend, we had a family Christmas with Matt’s extended family and then we went back to Brainerd, and then to Des Moines. Lots of driving!

We had a wonderful holiday season…thank you to all of you who answered the call for REAL mail. We received cards and letters from all over…New York to the Netherlands. We just received them a few days ago and it made us smile!

You can pics of our family Christmas with my family here. Happy 2008 Everyone!