It’s funny, as I sit down at our very new home in Kansas, I am about to tell you how we are heading off. The last few years, I guess we forgot to update everyone on life.
It’s been 22 months since we arrived back from Korea with the kids. We settled in Tacoma, Washington for 15 months. Met wonderful people, experienced the PNW, sent the kids to school, opened back up the cookie business.
And then, in December 2019 we took a road trip to Colorado and then to Kansas and on New Year’s we put in an offer on a house in Shawnee and at the beginning of February closed on our home. We arrived in Kansas, watched the Chief’s win the superbowl and moved into this stunning house in a very family friendly neighborhood. (Check out the BBQ in our picture, Gavin’s idea as he stated, “did you know Kansas is known for BBQ and we haven’t had any?”)
We enrolled the kids in school, Gavin in 1st Grade and the littles into preschool. We were running around to drop off, house chores, work, the store, the gym, pick up, dinner, bath, bed… get up and do it all over again, you know, the typical family day. Then, 3 weeks later… It was March 18th and we sent a letter to the schools and kept the kids home ahead of the COVID announcements as our friends overseas were showing us what was going on.
We ran through the gamut of hair dye, bread baking, remote schooling, yard camping. It was stressful at first as we tried to figure out what worked for us. There was anger and frustration, confusion, fear, tears, concern… and so much more.
But slowly, this way of life, keeping to ourselves, doing everything together, no pressures, no guilt, no stress… started to feel like our norm. It reminded us of our days overseas… more relaxed, bringing us closer, giving us time to be together. When all we needed and relied on was each other. And magically, with gifted time that we were almost forced into having, we had that again.
So, in true Adam and Nicole fashion, we started talking… dreaming… doing the what if, and can we, and what do we want…
Here we are.
At the beginning of June we had already decided we were homeschooling. We tested out a few ways to do it and quickly got into a great pattern with the kids, one that worked great for all of us, (I’ll write more about that later)
Then, we thought if we want to go on a vacation we have to stay at an airbnb. We had to be able to keep to ourselves, continue grocery pick up and feel safe.
So, we put our house up for rent, fully furnished, just to see what would happen. I received two messages about wanting it unfurnished but that didn’t work for us. Then, I got a phone call from Julie. She and her husband had just sold their farm and were looking for a place, fully furnished, to move into, closer to her Mom where they could relax and enjoy their life. As we talked, everything they wanted matched exactly what we were wanting to offer. Our paths were meant to cross. Within two days we worked out a contract and a move in date.
With only 24 days until their move in date, we had to figure out where we were going to go. But, from our past travel experiences, especially with kids, moving around too much, with too much expectation is exhausting and stressful and that is ABSOLUTELY not what we want. We want to self quarantine elsewhere. We want low stress and just to continue our days together with less house work, less yard work and more time together. We knew we wanted longer stretches in each location and didn’t want to plan too far in advance.
We sold our second car, depersonalized our house (we didn’t even fill one closet, we have kept our personal items still to a minimum), renewed our passports because well, you never know. We packed our homeschool into a suitcase, got a tow hitch put on the minivan for our bikes and each of us have clothes for a week.
We found an Airbnb on Lake Erie and our plan is to start there for 6 weeks. That’s the only plan we have. We have ideas of other places we want to go. The kids have thrown in some places as well, but nothing is a promise as we want to be sure to stay safe and things change week to week with COVID. The kids want the beach, although I told them only the Gulf of Mexico. Jake keeps touting Hawaii and Adam and I have been dreaming of a long stint in Costa Rica. (Yes I know it is a plane ride, but honestly, planes may feel safer than walking around your local grocery store) Veenie has mentioned a horse place and Gavin wants a boogie board for waves, only on the Gulf side.
We feel like, for the first time, we truly are able to live as we have always wanted. But, this time, it is purely without judgement from anyone as we are all navigating COVID in our own way. Homeschooling our children doesn’t sounds as taboo and we are choosing this path as we believe, as a family, that it is what is best for the 5 of us, both mentally and physically while at the same time, being completely respectful of social distancing and following our hearts.
Since the day we met, Adam and I knew that we were wanderers. Whether we were before that, who knows… but once we were together, it was where our hearts took us. This invigorates us. It lights a spark like nothing else. It truly is our passion.
To some, it seems insane, maybe even irresponsible or stupid. To others, it sounds impossible or maybe even others dream about it too.
Deep down, in my heart of hearts… it is up to each of us to determine either by ourselves or with our significant other what makes us happy and honestly, nothing should get in the way of that.
So, to us….spending time together, just the 5 of us. Exploring and living all that is before us. We are making this happen because it is what brings us joy.
Here is to the next year of adventure and experiences. Life and who knows what else.
Thank you for following us on this journey.
Adam, Nicole, Gavin, Jake & Veenie.