Saturday, September 19

The Lake House

The lake House

After we came up from the beach this is where we called home for over a month.

Lake Front View

We had one of the best lake view spots in the park, of all the campgrounds, and it was just a short hike down to the beach, which we’d do when we didn’t have to have the boogie boards or the inflatable boat or a cooler. We had camp fires quite a bit, and Jewel became a pro at roasting marshmallows a perfect ooey gooey crispy tan color.

Lake McConaughy Campground

This is Lone Eagle Campground where we stay every time. A couple of the weekends we were here it filled up with campers but ninety percent of the time it looked just like this….including the occasional storm in the horizon.

Lake McConaughy campsite

The State Park has a 14 day camp limit, but we stayed here and the spot right to the left of it, the entire month.  They have the limit to keep out squatters, and said we’d be fine……. but it was nice to get past the first 14 days without being asked to move. I wasn’t so sure they didn’t think we started squatting!

Joey’s been playing the backpackers guitar more and more since he’s had all this downtime from the accident and with the help of You Tube instructional videos he’s been able to learn some new songs plus put together the music he’s heard in his head over the last decade. I enjoy just hanging Lake McConaughy Playerout with him, listening to him play, and Jonas and Jewel have started clapping after every performance. They do it thinking they’re sucking up to him, and has become quite the joke. Now he waits for his applause……and, you know, secretly hopes it never stops.













Grampa Ed - roughing itA highlight of our month was a visit from Grampa Ed! When he said he wanted to come out he asked us to find a hotel for him, but we couldn’t let him do that. He had to stay with us…so we broke out the formal guest suite. The Guest SuiteOur guests stay in style. Included is a double decker air mattress, screened porch, and flannel sheets. We loved having Joey’s dad with us, and for the first time in our sixteen years together spent some real good quality time together. Friends at the LakeEven some of Joey’s work buddies came out a couple times to hang with us, and brought home grown midwest sweet corn, squash, cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes with them! They’re invited back. They brought their dog too which the kids always love.

Thanks to our friends, family and even the campground hosts, we’re coming away with some great memories! Also, because of the time we’ve been able to spend here, we’re coming away with a new drive to do what we’ve got to do to live like this forever.

Thursday, September 17

Lake McConaughy – We L.o.v.e. You

When deciding to leave Texas the only place we really wanted to go was the beach. We couldn’t really get to a coast so when we remembered about Lake McCanaughy up in Nebraska, we couldn’t escape the heat fast enough! We’d been to Lake McCanaughy in July of 2007 and loved it so much we went again in June of 2008. We took a two lane highway almost the entire route and until I recognized a spot that I had once gotten pulled over for speeding, I thought we had found a new road for us. Then I had another déjà vu when we were playing in a park in Scott City, KS……It took me a while, but I recognized it as a park we had played in before! There are pictures from this park in a video I made years ago after the Unschooling Conference in New Mexico. There’s a picture of Jewel in the video hanging upside down right at a part where the singer says “You’re still free”. This picture of Jake also reminds me that they’re still free.

Playground Yoga

We ate at the Pizza Hut across the street, which is no easy task for vegetarian Jonas who doesn’t even want to step foot in a restaurant anymore, and doesn’t like Pizza. He gave in, had cheesy breadsticks and we all enjoyed the break from almost non stop driving. By the next morning we were terrorizing the beach!

Lake McConaughy

Jewel wore her wetsuit so she would be warm in the water and Jonas wore his so he wouldn’t get a tan.

Lake McConaughy

On windy days they’d try out boogie boarding, again Jonas is covered so he does.not.get.a.tan.

jewel sand surfing

Other days they’d try their sand surfing skillz.

Lake McConaughy

Then back to boogie boarding, mixed in with some sand castle building.

Just a Kid

Lake McConaughy

And no matter where we are, there’s always toad catching.

One day we went to the Kingsley Dam Hydro Plant, where we learned more about the history of the lake………

Big Mouth

And what a big mouth Jacob has!

This first week here at the lake was like paradise. We were completely alone, and reconnecting as a family again. No outside interferences, be them good or bad, just back to us. No cares in the world for the time being. We did a lot of relaxing, both in and out of the water.


Lake McConaughy 2009

Some of it included cocktails.

I'm done with the pictures

Then that kid and their freedom thing pops up again………..

Sunday, September 13

Texas Wrap-Up

So….we left Texas about a month ago, and we’re getting ready to leave our next location so I figure I better get  crackin’ on this blog here. Being away form the blog for so long has made it that much more difficult to get back into the groove, but after reading an old journal from twelve years ago and re reading this blog from the last three years it’s made me realize how important it is to record some memories and preserve our story. In my old journal I wrote directly to Jake (who was eighteen months at the time) and when I read it to the kids the other day they were entranced….they LOVED hearing it and because of them, I vow to keep this this thing going. I also plan to write our story all the way from the beginning, but that’s going to require me to get rid of the TV’s first. And maybe get a cook and a dishwasher.

So where do I start? Let’s see….we did finally make it to The Stockyards. Woop-dee-doo. We were at The Watergardens before that and that was much more my style. The Big Pool at Fort Worth Watergardens

It’s a park in the middle of downtown Fort Worth and it has this Big Pool as shown here, along with a Quiet Serenity Pool and another one full of sprinklers. I went with another unschooling mama, Missi, that we met on park day and naturally we had to break the rules and let the kids play in the water, but only until we were told to get out. We’re law abiding like that.

I dreaded another one of the unschooling moms hair, Angela, and then because she looked so awesome in her dreads it gave me the courage to get my own. Needless to say the dreads did not make me five foot seven and stick skinny, so they only lasted a couple weeks.  Angela and Missi threw me a birthday party and I had one of the best birthday’s ever! Usually we’re on the road en-route to somewhere or Joey is on a job so I rarely even get a cake let alone a party. I’ll never forget what they did, and how much it meant to me.

Aside form the very few encounters with the outside world, we spent ninety nine percent of the time on the Acres. One of my hobbies was googling myself and damn! was I surprised to find my pictures being used all over the web! For articles on catching an alligator at summer camp, to hitchhiking, to national parks, to how to build a chicken coop, to how to take pictures, to how to weld and even for an article on out houses. I’ve since put a copyright dealy-majig on my photos so they can’t be used anymore without my permission, but now googling myself just isn’t the same.

Lounge Chair Flyer

There was a lot of kite flying on Windy Green Acres and Joey schooled us on how to fly a kite with a broken leg.

The Knoth Klan

There was also a lot of Bocci Ball going on. That was definitely one of our favorite games we played together, and as much as my brother tried..he just couldn’t beat me. Oh yeah, I said it.

Of course our favorite thing was playing with the chickens. WHO KNEW chickens would be so much fun? Jewel and the Sultan named Mary

Jonas and Hammy Jonas decided as long as there was an animal in the picture with him, he would let me take his picture. I’ve decided I’m going to keep a frog in my pocket . Jonas and the Turtle Just in case.

The summer was beyond HOT. I never went to another unschooling park day, and the kids did spend most of the day inside. I know my parents probably thought our kids did nothing but play video games but that’s just because they were in bed at 1am when the kids were riding their rip stick and roller blades, or catching toads and feeding them june bugs, or jumping on the trampoline with a sprinkler. They were just smart enough to stay out of the heat.

Jake can do anything 

We ended up spending TEN months in Texas! Ten MONTHS! In the last twelve years we’ve never spent that much time in one place. It reassured me that I don’t need a stick house, but it’s made the rest of the family want some land of our own again. Jonas even asked for a house for his birthday. Jewel still wants a big bathtub and a trampoline, and Jake just wants to live in Hawaii, as does Joey. It looks like I’m out voted but at least for now we’re still in the bus and hitting the road. If we do end up getting a house again, it’ll be just like when we had a house in Iowa: We spent the summers at the house and the winters traveling and working. So the way I see it, if they want a house in Hawaii ,it’s kinda like the best of both world’s and I can deal with that.

Jake Rocks the Bus

Rock On!

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