I Love My Life!

Now that it’s all said and done, I can be honest… I was worried about the decision we were making when we decided to pack everything we own and move south. As much as I hated the Minnesota winters, we had a support network up north and I was terrified of giving that up. My seasonal mood disorder was insane and I needed frequent baby-sitters like you wouldn’t believe. I’ll admit now that giving my baby-sitters up was terrifying for me. It’s strange looking back at that now because I don’t need a baby-sitter here. Our entertainment isn’t escaping for a childless dinner here. It’s taking full advantage of our Six Flags membership and dining pass. Instead of movie theaters, we’re looking forward to trying out one of the nearby drive-ins. Instead of shopping without kids, we’re teaching them patience in the shopping cart and utilizing allowance for the extra things they want.

Depression is ugly and I’m glad it’s gone.

I honestly don’t know if we’ve ever been this happy before. We were okay in California but we never really fit in with the fast paced, money-driven lifestyle. Vegas was a little better but the big city left a lot to be desired for young families dealing with autism. Minnesota was better for the family aspect but the weather drove me insane every December through April and I lost all desire to do anything. Texas has been the best so far. The sunshine is a great mood lifter, homeschooling is encouraged, everyone we know is living frugally, and we fit right in with the neighbors wanting to grow their own food and avoid big government. It’s a different world here and we’ve been welcomed full-heartedly. I was worried about being an outsider here but I don’t think Texans have ever met a stranger.

Maybe it’s strange to feel so connected so quickly but Texas is home now. This little acre of ours is our home. Our dreams are here now and we have friends in the area so we’re not completely alone. My husband just started working for his new boss today and we’re working on getting into a routine before the new homeschool year starts in August. I’m excited for August. I’m excited to homeschool again. I’m excited to plan next year’s garden, get some chickens, and live a life with purpose!

Must Love Six Flags

Zander and Zack at the entrance of Six Flags!

Zaden loved the big splashes at the bottom of the Aquaman Ride!

Zailey loved soaking up the sunshine in between rides.
We took advantage of a really great price and bought memberships to Six Flags in Arlington, Texas. We’ve been there twice this week and since it includes Hurricane Harbor too, I see many hot summer days spent in Arlington. My kids love the rides and I love the laughter, sunshine, and time together. It’s a major win!

Must love Gotham City!

Unlimited slushies for the win!

Brave kids.

Welcome to Texas!! Here’s a Tornado.

I’m back! I wasn’t sure we’d get unlimited internet out here in the middle of nowhere but I’m married to a tech nerd genius and he figured it out today. It’s a little slower than the internet we had back in Minnesota but I haven’t found myself wanting to be online as often as I used to be anyway. Life is different here in Texas and I have other things to do during the day :)

Like play outside! We had snow for over 8 months in northern Minnesota and almost every day was overcast too. My seasonal mood disorder was in full swing by the time we left the northlands and headed south. My anti-outside kids have turned into sun babies with an obsession with the outdoors. It’s hard keeping them inside… unless there’s a tornado watch nearby. Then, my wannabe storm chasers are inside watching the radar on my phone.

There have been three since we moved in less than three weeks ago. Three scary storms. The Granbury tornado was only an hour away. The Moore, Oklahoma tornado was only three hours.

Guess who’s getting an underground storm shelter!! Because wow.

Anyway, so we’re not in the middle of nowhere. We actually own some land in a beautiful farming community outside of a small town I’ve completely fallen in love with. We’re just a short drive from the metroplex, which means we can take advantage of what the city has to offer too… without living in it. Like Six Flags! After years of having nothing to do, we decided on a Six Flags membership so we always have something we could go do. The kids are crazy about the rides.

Our community is wonderful. The neighbors are really nice and we were welcomed with farm fresh eggs and lots of chatter. We don’t have any immediate neighbors because everyone around us has land with some kind of animal on it (horses, cows, longhorns, goats, chicken, alpaca…). Our closest neighbor (aka: the only house we can really see from our yard) is acres away and we have to shout our good mornings to each other. The privacy is wonderful and I love that we don’t have to keep our dogs chained up or worry about neighbors getting mad because they’re barking at something.

If the neighbors want to get mad about anything, I vote the silly rooster two farms away that can’t tell what time of day it is. Though I’ve grown to like him too.

I told y’all that the land we bought came with a manufactured home we are fixing up to live in for a few years until we have it moved so we can build, right? I’m actually falling in love with the simpleness of our home. The single floor layout and large rooms. Now that the walls aren’t all white and we’ve had carpet installed (and we’re currently working on replacing the floor above), we have transformed this into a comfortable home. It works and I’m still so proud that we paid cash for it instead of getting a mortgage. Oh, and many of the farms around us have manufactured homes on them too so we aren’t singled out.

I’m guessing it has something to do with those darn tornadoes. Who wants to rebuild a brick house every ten years? ;)

We are so in love with Texas! All of us are happy here. This already feels like our home.

The big boys are fascinated with all the new bugs.

Zaden is full of giggles!

Zailey decided the plywood floors made an excellent dance floor… and the new carpet we have now is a terrific tumble mat!

The husband is loving his new toys and having land to work with.

And, I’m so relaxed and happy, I’ve decided to embrace these silly little grays popping up. I’m turning 30 soon, I’m ready for it, and I’m excited to celebrate it with good friends in the area. Oh! And the husband said I can totally cover them up with a hot pink stripe! He’s never been okay with me coloring my hair before :) Gray hair for the win!

And it doesn’t hurt that my husband’s taking me to see my favorite band for my birthday either!! I can’t wait to see Fun.!!
And that’s where we are. We’re in Texas, the sky hasn’t eaten us, we’ve fallen in love with our home, and if you don’t hear from us for awhile… it’s probably because we’re at Six Flags drinking slushies.

We Won the Bid!

Last Friday, we bid on a great piece of land outside of the Dallas / Fort Worth area… and we won! Sure, it might be frowned upon to live in a manufactured, mobile-style home for a couple of years while we build but it’s paid in full and our income can go right into building the house we want. Complete with a tornado shelter (I promise, Mom!!).

I have so many ideas for this country land. I’m dreaming of a 5 bedroom ranch house, a garden that can feed my family, a play area for the kids, a pool, a workshop, multiple fire places, etc…

But first, we need to focus on fixing up the manufactured home on the property so we can live comfortably while we build and then sell it and have it relocated. It would be a little more comfortable than living in the 30 foot RV with four kids. And, it has an air conditioner. I hear that’s important in Texas ;)

I’ve been debating between posting a picture of the house or not and I decided against it. This is a public blog, afterall. And with little kids at home, I’d like to keep our location private. But the outside needs a coat of paint, stain on the deck, and some frames around the windows in the backyard. Easy cosmetic work.

The road we’ll be living on is a small, private road out in the country. The only people that could possibly travel this road are the people who live on it. Note to self: Buy a gun and have it ready for unknown visitors. Security: Texas style.

The decks could use a good coat of stain and I’m dying to see if that fence goes around the entire property on all sides… and how expensive it’ll be to build a wood fence in its place. I have kids and dogs that like to run!

The kitchen needs some work but thankfully, has a ton of cabinet space to get me through (I have pantry plans for the house we build… sigh). The wallpaper has already been ripped down and we’re deciding between painting over the existing walls or pulling each of the vertical strips down and rewalling the whole place. I’ve been seeing some beautiful manufactured home renovations using beadboard and I really like it. Hmm. Is it worth all that work if it’s only a temporary house while we build? I just don’t know yet.

The living room is also wallpaper free (this is a big deal to us since wallpaper is a nightmare to rip down). The carpet is gone now too, thankfully. We’ll be painting and installing new floors before we even move in so this saves us a lot of work. There’s a fireplace and I’m already looking at ideas to fix it up. I’m not fond of the tile and I’d like a mantle. Pinterest has some great ideas!

The bedrooms are huge and blank slates with white walls and no floors installed. We’re debating between carpet and wood. There are two bathrooms and a laundry room as well… also blank slates. This saves us a lot of demo time before renovating. We are planning to live in the RV for a few weeks while we paint and floor.

I’m excited! We were looking at other options like buying empty land and living in the RV while we built… but the land wasn’t any cheaper and this already has an inspection approved well and septic. That alone saves us about $15,000. We also considered buying land with a regular “sticks and bricks” house on it to avoid the “mobile home” stereotype for a couple years… but the available houses in our cash only budget required a lot more than TLC. I’d rather use our money to build what we want instead of work hard to fix something that’s just okay.

We’re really looking forward to starting a “cash only” lifestyle. It’s important to us that we start relying on ourselves instead of banks and credit card companies. It might take us awhile to build but only because we’re paying cash for each step. That’s worth it to us.

I laugh when I think about the old us; the people we were in Vegas. We were so focused on having the biggest, the best, and the most expensive. We did our best to keep up with our friends and we spent money we didn’t have to do it. In six years, we’ve left the big city for small town life… and now we’re leaving the small town for country life. If you would have told us six years ago that we’d not only be building our own house somewhere in the country, but that we’d be living in a manufactured home while we do it… I would have laughed my butt off at you.

Now? I can’t imagine being in debt for another 30 years.

And, I don’t give a crap what my friends have or if my stuff is as good as theirs.

It’s just stuff.

Oh, how I wish we could have adopted this mentality a long time ago. It would have saved us a $315,000 foreclosure when the market crashed in Vegas!!

Texas. Yes. Really.

Somehow, even with of all my “Texas, Texas, Texas, Texas” chatter on Facebook, people are still not aware that we’re moving. We are not visiting—we are moving to Texas this summer. And, we’re REALLY excited!! Especially since we still have snow in April! But our friends all think we’re insane… So, let me answer some questions.

Why Texas?

Did I miss something somewhere? What do northerners have against Texas? The “Why Texas?” question is always asked with a “what the hell are you drinking?” look on their faces. Why not Texas? Texas is a state filled with history and pride. Most of the people I know in Texas love their state. I can’t say that for the people I know in Minnesota and I’m definitely one of them. Texas has great homeschooling laws and doesn’t force you to give your children standardized testing every year. They also have a much longer growing season and when you’re trying to grow your own GMO-free food, you need more than a few months. I’ve tried in Minnesota and my garden really frustrated me. We also have a lot of friends in that area.

Where in Texas?

We are looking for a cheap house on a couple acres of land somewhere around the Dallas / Fort Worth area. We like that it’s not as hot and humid as southern Texas but we can still do weekend trips to the beach.

What About the Heat?

We lived in Las Vegas for 5 years and we miss the heat. My husband’s from Fresno, California so he was raised in the heat. We hate winter with a passion. Snow? Cold air? -60 windchill? I’d rather have a hot summer in an air conditioned house. Hibernating for half the year is leading to some serious winter depression and another winter in Minnesota would put me on pills.

What About Work?

My husband is a satellite technician for Dish Network, which is nation wide. He’ll just keep doing what he’s doing since he’s great at it and the money is good. And the home materials, roof materials, etc are the same styles we use up here so he’s not worried about that either.

What About a Support System?

I will miss our family and friends in Minnesota… but we also have friends who are like family in Texas so I’m not going to be completely alone. In fact, one of my sister friends is already set up to baby-sit when my husband takes me to the Fun concert for my birthday in September!

What About Rattlesnakes and Tornadoes?

Believe it or not, this is the question we’re hearing the most. One, we have dangerous animals up here in the Superior National Forest, where I currently live too. Sure, they’re not slithery like a snake but we do have bears, wolves, and even mountain lions have been spotted. We also have the dangerous ticks and west nile scares with mosquitoes. We are educating ourselves and will learn how to deal with the new animals. As far as tornadoes go… We are building a storm shelter. And, we get tornadoes in Minnesota too.

So, When?

Soon. We’d like to be settled in before our 2013/2014 homeschool year starts in August.

Ultimate Blog Party!! Welcome to my crazy home.

Ultimate Blog Party 2013
The Ultimate Blog Party means a lot to me. Once upon a time, ohhhhh maybe 5 years ago, I joined the UBP on an old, old blog of mine. This crazy chick from another blog stumbled across mine and started stalking me (no kidding). She found me on facebook and forced me to be friends with her and talk to her everyday. Suddenly, we knew everything about each other and became really close. Last month, I got to meet this crazy chick and she is just as awesome in person as she is online! I love her. Without UBP, we wouldn’t have met! Go visit her and tell her I said hi ;)

Welcome to Must Love Mommyhood!!

I look like a new blogger but I’m not. I gave up on blogger.com recently and bought my own webspace. I suddenly feel like a grown up blogger. Like I just packed my bags and moved out on my own… hoping to survive in this crazy world so I don’t have to return to Mommy Blogspot with my tail between my legs.

I’ve been married to my best friend, Jay for 11 years. I’m amazed he’s put up with me for this long. We are great together. And we have the same crazy dreams. Like selling our house in Minnesota, packing everything in our RV, and moving to Texas where we can buy land and homestead? Yeah… we’re doing that. This year. Doesn’t it sound magical?

Yes, I’m aware they have rattle snakes there… but my 8yo swears he’s a ninja so we’ll be okay.

These are our crazy kids: Zack, Zander, Zaden, and Zailey. All three boys are somewhere on the autism spectrum, which makes life both fascinating and exhausting at the exact same time. They are good kids. My oldest two wanted to try public school this year, which stressed me out but I wanted them to have the choice. One is already back home with me and the other will be next year. And I hear the Texas homeschool laws are awesome!

So, what do I blog about, anyway?

  • My family. They’re fun to talk about… shhh.
  • Animals. We have 2 dogs, a cat, a hedgehog, 7 fish, and I want chickens.
  • Homeschooling. This fall, I’ll have a 4th grader, 1st grader, Pre-K, and tot.
  • Changes. We are leaving Minnesota and moving to Texas this summer.
  • Building a house. We can’t wait to start later this year!
  • Gardening. In Texas, we are buying a few acres and growing our own food.
  • Cooking. I am abandoning processed food and learning to cook from scratch.
  • Cooking. I have a family of 6… and my boys eat like men!
  • Cooking. I feel like it’s all I do. Really.
  • Natural living. I have a deep love for essential oils and herbs.
  • Saving money. We’re going to be country folk soon!
  • Adventure. We love adventure!!

You can find me on facebook here! And, I’m kind of in love with Pinterest. Oh, and you can visit my sister friends: Alisha, Allison, and Tiffany.

Now, go enjoy the blog party! And please leave a comment to let me know you were here :)

I’m too Young for This… aka: Fifty Shades of Gray… aka: I Named it Zaden

There comes a time in every girl’s life when you really just need to grab something heavy and bash the mirror while sobbing hysterically. Today was that time for me…

What in the name of all things holy is this? I named it Zaden. And, how fitting that it showed up at the beginning of Autism Awareness Month.

One of my best friends tried to comfort me with, “Well, maybe it’s an April Fools gray and it’ll be brown again tomorrow.”

Sure. And unicorns just missed the ark.

I am not old enough for this. I still have 178 days until I’m thirty… This is some sick joke by Mother Nature. She is laughing at me right now. Giggling hysterically as she watches me cringe every time someone asks me how old I am. “Oh, you think you saw a wrinkle by your eye? Well, let’s just see what you do with this one.”

Mother Nature can kiss my butt.

Thirty, I am not ready for you.

Must Love Texas… I Hope!

I was not cut out for Minnesota. Ignore the fact that I was raised here, okay? I hate cold weather. I hate everything about it. I hate winter coats that make you look like a marshmallow, winter hats that itch your forehead, spending six months a year in jeans instead of skirts, and the heating bill that makes a woman want to cry each month. In the five years since we moved back here, we have built one snowman. We can count the amount of times we’ve gone sledding on two hands. I’m not even sure I own snowpants… Our kids hate the snow too. The only footprints in my yard are from the deer.

The last few winters were hard on us. This winter was even worse. And then the weatherman had to go and announce that this year is a normal Minnesota winter—the last few years were mild. Bite me, weatherboy.

What can I say? Living in the southwest for seven years spoiled me.

But winter-hate or not, we have felt stuck here. We own a house. My family is here. My husband’s job is here. So, we have spent the last few winters trying to “fake it ’til we make it” happiness-wise. But we fooled no one. I think the whole buying the RV and planning to avoid winter gave it all way ;)

But, we are not nomads at heart. We are homesteaders. For years, we’ve been dreaming about buying land out in the country, living in our RV there while building a little house from scratch, and growing our own food. I’ve been dreaming about chickens. Possibly a horse someday. We almost bought a country home up here in Minnesota but pulled out at inspection.

Why? Because we do not want to be here in the winters anymore and that mortgage payment would have made us double stuck.

When my husband came to me and told me about some job worries that are popping up, I panicked. And then, I looked out the window at my poor RV sitting in the snowbank and the panic attack stopped. “Let’s go south,” I suggested. I just returned from a vacation south to meet my best friends (women I could go on and on about so I’m not even going to start). I expected him to say no. I expected him to say we have it good here because our mortgage is cheap. I didn’t expect him to say, “okay.”

Sure, we’re known for crazy ideas but every single one of them have been his idea. I usually cringe at his out-of-box thinking but go along anyway because I’m one of those old-fashioned, supportive, submissive wives that make feminists cry. This was the first crazy, life-changing idea that was inspired by me. And, I like it!

I’m going to admit… I was scared to call my mom and tell her that I want to sell my house, pack up everything in the RV, and head to Texas this summer. “I don’t know if we’ll want to come back and suffer the cold again,” I confessed. I told her I might fall in love and want to buy land there. I was really scared to tell her but I was raised with the ability to tell my parents everything without judgment so I did. Do you know what she told me? She told me to go… Minnesota has a way of making someone feel stuck and she doesn’t want that for me. (I love having a supportive family!)

Plus, she’s listened to me bawl on the phone as I sunk deeper and deeper in my annual winter depression. This year was bad, folks. I almost needed pills. She was pretty worried about me for awhile there.

My husband found work in Texas. He’ll be doing exactly what he’s doing now and he’s already touched base with the boss. We found a company that’ll ship his work vehicle south. We might have even found land if we want to stay.

And, that’s where we are. We are preparing the house for sale. We are preparing our children for an RV trip south (they are SO excited). We are preparing ourselves for something fresh. Could this be our dream finally coming true? Our country-living, chicken-owning, homesteading, homeschooling, made-from-scratch dream? I really hope so!

And thanks to the RV, we can take a few weeks and travel north to escape the summer heat and spend some much needed time with my family. We can travel west and spend time with his family. We can travel east and spend time with my sister friend. I’m feeling a lot less stuck these days!

What’s in a Blog Name?

I did it! I finally settled on a blog name. What a pain in the butt this decision has been. I spent way too much time on GoDaddy.com brainstorming names and researching available URLs. I had a lot of ideas. Some were more brilliant than others.

Pee on the Floor
Wait wait wait, there’s a story here. It involves an 8-year-old and a 5-year-old and their laziness when it comes to walking fifteen feet to the toilet. Yeah. I threw the mother of all tantrums when I discovered their… creativeness behind their beds. And then it hit me. This would make an excellent blog title. I even went as far as designing the header image before I realized that my excitement over peeonthefloor.com being available speaks volumes about my sanity. Next!

Keep Calm and Whatever
Because the whole “Keep Calm and…” thing isn’t overplayed. Not at all. And doesn’t the “uplifting” World War 2 poster just scream this is an original, creative blog worth reading?

Autism Happened
Sounds depressing after awhile, right?

Three Boys and a Princess
This is what we call tempting fate. Like getting someone’s name tattooed on your body today only to face a breakup tomorrow. If you name your blog something specific about the number of kids you have, you will be pregnant within six months. Let’s avoid this, hmm?

Autism Mommy
I really wanted this URL. I still do. And if any of you want to buy it for me, I’ll totally send you cookies as a thank you! It’s only $1500… That’s only 300 days of Starbucks, people!

Flapping Our Hands
Kinda cute. Kinda specific. Next!

Minnesota Munchkins
But we’re already planning on packing the RV and heading to Texas this summer… Do I just not blog out of state?

My Psychotic Life
I’m still not sure why I decided against this one.

Wicked Witch of the North
Can you believe this URL is available? Am I the first to think of it? It’s brilliant. Except I wear way too much glitter to be wicked.

Zombie Mommy
This would be perfect for a mom blogging about the appocalypse. Or, a mom who hates mornings. Whatever.

If you’re searching for a blog URL, all of those were available in .com format last time I checked. Go ahead and steal my brilliance ;)