Thursday, August 30

Two Rivers SRA

So much for hopping, maybe more like crawling. We spent the last week in Two Rivers SRA outside Omaha, NE.....and that's it. At first it was because it was such a nice park, with five campgrounds, five fishing lakes, a swimming lake and lakeside camping under a huge shade tree, then it was because our engine repair work isn't done yet. Ugh. We had to take the *new* welder in to Linweld because it wouldn't start anymore, and since we took it in on a Friday naturally we had to wait until Monday to hear anything, so we ended up spending the weekend. Then on Sunday the Omaha Herald delivered complimentary copies of their Sunday paper and inside was a coupon for free camping on the third if we pay for two, so I think we stayed nine days total. We are getting mighty slow in our old age.

Supposedly they found bones willing digging at the job site in OK where we were going so that's been postponed, another reason for our laziness, we no longer have anywhere to be.

This was our backyard:
Our current backyard
Why would we want to leave?
I was hoping to get a family portrait while we were here, but no one was cooperating. I got one shot, and four dirty looks, and ended up with this:
It was actually much worse but after some editing at least I got a decent current family shot. Then the next day the kids were all for it once I saw them playing in a tree that hung out over the lake. After a group shot with their choice of seating, then they wanted individuals. Joey was busy building a new bike rack for his motorcycle since he never got back his original one after lending it out. I would have loved a family shot in there!
Our "girls"

The boys fished quite a lot, especially Jonas. This is the first time that they fished completely on their own, and they both caught fish! We didn't see Jake's but evidently it was HUGE. Jonas caught a small bluegill and kept it in his bait bucket for a while to play with, before also letting it go.

Jonas is also on his third week of not eating meat. I had a feeling he'd turn vegan, but not this soon! He's only eight! All I cared about at eight were Barbies and ice cream. It's bringing about more challenges for me in terms of finding him enough variety, but it's also making me more aware of what I'm eating and what I'm feeding my family. I know I can do better. I will do better. Any kid favorite vegan dishes would be greatly appreciated. :) Right now he's eating mostly raw: fruits, veggies, cheese, nuts and granola. As soon as I can find veggie burgers, he'll try those. So far it's been impossible to find in these small NE towns.

When they weren't fishing, we'd go for bike rides or over to the swimming lake.
Two Rivers Rec Area, NE

I even got the key to one of the nine or so train cabooses that they have for rent. They're completely restored and made to sleep six. It's probably one of the biggest draws to this park and it was especially cool for us because it's an identical caboose to the one we just explored a month ago, that wasn't restored. They call it Caboose Park.
Caboose Park

I also discovered mobile web here. Joey's had it on his phone for months, and never uses it, anyway I was so worried about Kathy and Family that I tried to see if I could get to their site form his phone, and I did! It was so cool! Doesn't take much for me. We can't manage to get our Internet satellite to work so the next job we go on I'm going to have to call someone out to set it. We don't even try anymore, so it was nice to find the www and read my mail. I miss reading my favorite blogs, and I feel bad that I never acknowledge comments I receive. I want to, I really do. I love getting comments, and I even got a couple award things. I appreciate them so much, and one day I will give a post worthy response, until then, know I really really love them! Thank you!

Bunch more pictures over here!

Tuesday, August 21

Fremont Lakes SRA

Our first stop was the nearest state recreation area, about an hour East. Perusing the Nebraska State Parks book we noticed a whole cluster of parks within hours of eachother, so my plan is to go park hopping. We used to do that with city parks when we lived in a stick house. We'd spend the whole day driving from town to town playing on their playgrounds and nature parks. It was a great way to see the country.......and that's what I'm all about.

Fremont Lakes looked and sounded great, but we weren't that impressed when we first pulled in. After parking and then walking down to one of the twenty small lakes I found a much better spot.
Fremont Rec Area, NE (30)
Now instead of only staying one night, we decided we'd do a couple extra. A couple extra turned into a whole week. It was so nice and peaceful, the heat wave is definitely keeping other campers away. We spent most of our time inside the air conditioning but there was still plenty of time for wildlife.
Fremont Rec Area, NE (9)
The kids tried desperately to catch a bullfrog, but it just wasn't meant to be. I did find a HUGE praying mantice at the gas station and had the attendent box it up for me so I could take it back to the kids. This is right before he jumped on my camera and my fingers and I threw them across the picnic table.
Fremont Rec Area, NE (6)
He was at least six inches long.

The sunset reflecting on the lake
Fremont Rec Area, NE (13)

From a distance the lakes appear to have algae covering the edges, but up close it looks like little empty shells, some of them even have eerie faces.
Fremont Rec Area, NE (65)

Overall, it's an OK park to kick back, relax and fish.

Tuesday, August 14

Forever in Columbus

While heading to Columbus I called the Chamber of Commerce for a campground recommendation and she referred us to North Lake, which not only had playgrounds and two lakes, it was also.....FREE. Too bad I ended up getting whatever it was that Joey had that kept us from going to Des Moines, though. I got so sick I stayed in bed for three days forcing us to stay longer than expected, plus I had to endure a few I told you so's. By the following Monday we were able to take the bus in to the mechanic, while we did lunch and laundry. With still more time to kill I suggested going shopping....what else is there to do?
I was lucky enough to score cute new bathing suits (Goodwill, natch) for Jewel and myself, so along with the boys suits that were in the clean laundry we were able to spend the rest of the day at the local waterpark. Once the bus was done (it wasn't needing a new power steering pump after all, just a smaller belt and some tightening of screws) we left to go get it with plans of going back to the waterpark, but as soon as the bus, and Joey, pulled away I got back in the truck to follow and it wouldn't start! Of course I had Joey's cell phone on me so I had to chase after the bus flailing my arms in the air looking like some deranged girlfriend whose boyfriend just left her.

All of this is happening in the middle of a severe heat wave, where we can hardly breathe because of all the humidity. Not fun. We managed to get the truck to start to only die a few blocks away, but luckily it was in a hotel parking lot that just happened to have RV electric hook ups. The Ford dealer can't get us in for a week so while we wait to get in Joey decided to try different things. He disconnected the alternator and battery, which are only six months old so I'm convinced he's wasting his time and energy, and took them up to have them tested, and in order to prove me wrong, they said the alternator was bad. They exchanged it for a more powerful one and recharged the battery and only charged us $14. I was expecting to really throw down some cash for all these repairs and combined we only spent $130. What are we gonna do with all the money we saved? Why, go camping of course!

Thursday, August 9

Leaving Stepford Wivesville

I'm watching Joey load up all our gear. He got the motrocycle loaded, the bikes and lastly he's working on the satellite dishes, all while I sit here in the park and avoid anything that looks like work. We didn't make it to Des Moines, much to my heartache, and we're still not exactly sure where we're going, but we are leaving. We'll go to Columbus first to hopefully find a new power steering pump for the bus and once it's fixed we'll be heading for, tada.....the nearest lake. Big surprise.

Jonas had his eigth birthday on Monday and we planned on going to a waterpark or miniature golfing, the rain wouldn't allow it. Instead he wanted to get his ears pierced.
Jonas' new earrings
He has his eye on some spider earrings he saw a while back, until then he'll make do with the black cz. He's well aware of the slack he may get, but he doesn't care. :)

I forgot to mention that Johnny and family came out to visit last Friday. They were our first overnight guests and I think they slept OK. The highlight for me was to bare witness to the family's first ever sightings of Firefly's! It was like seeing fairies!

We figured out we've been here 30 something days and had over thirty visitors! Of course the bus was only clean for about three of them, too. That's a lot of company for people who don't entertain much.

Saturday, August 4

Road Medical

The last day we were in Flaming Gorge I noticed small red bumps all over Jonas' legs. The next day we wake up in Wyoming and there's more bumps, looking a lot like bites. By afternoon they're up his back. I immediately think bed bugs and throw his mattress in the dumpster and all his bedding in the wash. He still has all the bumps by the time we get to Lake McConaughy, but other than itching like crazy, he has no other symptoms. According to my home medical guide he has Chicken Pox! Sure enough in a couple days Jewel has bumps all over her back and legs. They look like mosquito bites that turned crusty. By the time we get here and they jump in the city pool the first day, they've all dissappeared. Jacob never got anything, no one was ever feverish, and the itch was pretty easily controlled with Benadryl.....and not one scar. I still don't know what they had, but I'm thinking they just got vaccinated naturally. Did we really get away that easy for such a dreaded disease?

Whatever it was, Jonas got the memory foam mattress for his bunk he'd been wanting.


Crap, now Joey's thinking he may not want to go to the job in Iowa, and just stay here until we go to OK. I knew as soon as I told the Internets, that it wouldn't happen. Dammit. I'll know more by the middle of the week.

In the meantime Jewel and I got new haircuts:
long hair
Hers was self done with a pair of small scissors right to the center of her bangs. Not much unlike she does EVERY summer.

Mine was professionally done.
New haircut
In a way that would allow my hair to grow out the best. We also ran into a Goodwill the other night and I scored with five new outfits, all a size or two bigger than my old stuff, but at least now everything fits and I don't feel fat coming out of every seam. Nice, bigger clothes make me feel skinnier. I'll just cut off the tags and destroy the truth.


I'm working on a post to answer a lot of questions I've been receiving, if you've been wondering's the time to ask. :)

Friday, August 3

Traveling and Socialization

Tomorrow we'll have been here four weeks. That's about max for us. We were planning on leaving soon for a rig job in Oklahoma anyway, when yesterday morning Joey gets a call wanting him in Iowa to do some rebuild work at a Cargill plant, also with his welding rig. OK calls and says it's postponed until the end of August and Iowa says he can stay for as little or as long as he likes.....oh yeah, Des Moines here we come!!! I can't freakin believe we actually got a call out of the blue for DSM. I get to see all my girls! I mean, beautiful unschooling mothers, that make me laugh my ass other words, my friends. I literally cannot get this grin off my face.

Boys floating

Seeing other unschooling kids couldn't be coming at a better time either. Everyone that doesn't homeschool is always worried that kids that do homeschool won't get "socialized" somehow. Isn't that funny how those that don't worry about those that do? And that pertains to a lot of things in life, not just schooling. Anyway, the last month the kids have been playing with a lot of kids, a lot more than they're used to. At Lake McConaughy Jonas had an encounter with a little boy that wouldn't stop calling him a girl, yet Jake was friends with this kid. The last night there he(Jonas) met a friend and teared up when I told him we were leaving the next day. He said he made plpans to meet his friend the next night. By the next morning Jonas had forgot all about it and we happily moved on. Whew. Now we're here in small town Nebraska where everybody and their dog knows eachother. Girls quickly gather around the boys at the pool and they make fast friends with a pair of sisters. I notice right off the bat a gang of tween boys that can't do anything for themselves without their leader telling them how to do it. I'm happy the boys found nice girls to play with. The lifeguards have also fallen in love with the boys by now. They tell them they want to be their girlfriends and date them. Now the other boys are starting to take notice and try to befriend Jacob. They include him in their stupid game of chicken and immediatley Jake doesn't like their rules, and won't play their way. He won't flip off the diving board and these boys are trying to make him. He calls them freaks and jumps off. The next time they're all at the pool together Jake makes friend with a different boy and this gang comes and tells the boy not to be friends with Jake, and by the way Jake, tell your mom short hair is in so you need a haircut. Jake stands up for himself and heads to the boards, where ELEVEN boys now proceed to throw balls at him while he's twelve feet in the air. His lifeguard girlfriends kick all eleven hometown boys out of the pool for the rest of the summer!

How's that for socialization? I felt horrible I wasn't there to protect him, but so thankful the lifeguards were watching out for them. It was sad to think that if my kids were in school with those boys, they could have turned out the same way. They can have their competition, greed, narcissism, and feeling of entitlement, we'll keep our peace, love, respect, compassion and empathy, and we'll be gone by next week.
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