RV ROADTRIPS RULE!

If you ever saw this cartoon as a kid, odds are you have always dreamed of going on an RV trip.

i’ve been trying to get us on an RV trip for at least a year now but timing and finances never seemed to align. this past week we had a family reunion in NC planned that fell apart very last minute. i was left in a stressed out spot as Kevin was going to be home for the whole week but now we had nothing fun planned. i always have the RV trip in the back of my mind, so i scoured RV sites and after several calls and a spreadsheet analysis i came up with a game plan to finally get us out in an RV!

Family RV Trip tips

here are some THINGS I LEARNED, in case you want to start planning a fun RV trip for your family:

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1. you can’t just go off the /day fee: there are mileage fees, cleaning fees, insurance, prep fees, and generator fees. during my search i found it was a good deal if you got at least 150 free miles/day. and if the extra mileage fee was less than .30/mile. and don’t forget the cost of a place to plug-in each night in your budget.

2. negotiate! I found fees to be negotiable. for the mileage fee, they were willing to negotiate down to .20/mile for miles paid up front. if you know you will be traveling over the free mile allotment see if you can get a better rate paying up front. they were also willing to waive the cleaning fee if we did the cleaning ourselves. and if we were familiar with RVs, they would have waived the prep fee and let us do it ourselves. if theres something i’ve learned in my life recently its that you will surprised what you can make happen. never be afraid to ask, the worst they can say is no. Or as Alice Walker more eloquently puts it:

The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any.

3. be flexible in trip planning: the cost of the trip i had dreamed of (a trip up to Nashville TN) was looking to be too much when I tallied up the mileage fee and cost of gas. i was so bummed. then i remembered a mini-summer trip i had been looking into up on Amelia Island 200 miles from home. when i punched in those numbers we were within budget! so if your main goal is to experience an RV, consider a close to home destination.

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Anna Maria Island

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here are some OOPS! TO AVOID:

1. bedding (duh): as i looked at pictures of RVs, the back bed always had one of those tacky motel comforters on it. so i assumed the bed would come with bedding. and i’m sure that is true for some RVs, but this one was empty. i didn’t pack any bedding for my husband and i (i’m a notorious under packer- bringing nothing to light a fire on a camping trip might have happened before). he made the mistake of pumping the A/C down to 60 the first night and we both woke up so cold all through the night. we were kicking ourselves thinking of how comfortable we could have been all bundled up and cozy in our duvet and fluffy pillows if only we’d brought them.

2. turbulence! things get pretty bouncy when you’re driving, especially the farther back you are in the RV. sometimes i’ll admit i was kinda fearing for my life and i’d come up to see if like there had been a close call or something and kevin was just all normal driving. so don’t plan on cooking, showering etc while on the road (i had a fantasy of cooking while driving that did not come to fruition- curse that mickey mouse- taunting me with false hopes!). you can move around a bit, but be careful and sit or lay as much as you can while on the go. this is another reason to plan a near-to-home trip. the most fun is had while the RV is stopped.

3. ask questions: i assumed the TV would just work all the time but we found it only worked when the RV was plugged in. we told the boys we’d play a movie while we drove during bedtime hours the first night and ended up with some disappointed little guys 😦 also we didn’t quite grasp the water pump and tank. we ended up calling their hotline and muddled through but we might have saved some time (and possibly a small argument) if we had asked for a water tutorial before we left.

THINGS TO LOVE ABOUT AN RV:

1. so great for a mid-day break: vacations are exhausting. it was so nice to come back to the RV for afternoon nap time or nursing a baby.

IMG_1175family vacation nap time

^yes, he is sleeping like that lol

2. save on food costs: we only ate out for dinner each day since we could whip up breakfast and lunch super simple in the RV and eat in the A/C at our cozy built-in table.

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3. fun while driving: no “are we there yet?” or “mom, he’s bugging me!” or having to stop for potty breaks or accidents from not stopping enough for potty breaks

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good luck and have fun on your adventure!

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BEACH TIME

beacha couple weeks ago we discovered an awesome beachfront park spot complete with playground and splash pad! no better way to get all that sand off than stopping at the splash pad before loading in the car. it was really clean and well-kept. and even water from the drinking fountain was SO good lol.

BEACH RELAXwe were enjoying ourselves too much and stayed longer than we should’ve sun-wise. my husband took the brunt of it with some blazing red shins {just looking at them made me say ouch} . i burnt my scalp {shoulda brought a hat} . and the boys got a little burnt too. but we had a great time!

{i should totally have him upgraded off a bottle by now. but i’m anti-sippy cup because they stunted my first child’s ability to learn how to drink from a real cup since you don’t have to tip them.}

a dead fish was found in the ocean and he was passed from child to child to admire, hold, and poke. my niece opal (in the yellow) tried to hurry and get him back in the water so he wouldn’t die even though he was dead from the get go. she’s a sweetheart.

we found an abandoned shore pool {made by a more ambitious family} and the 3 youngest boys were set. they didn’t move from it for an hour. so building a shore pool is a tool i’ve added to my beach survival with multiple little non-swimmers kit.

i was proud of orion, he has come a long way since our last beach trip where he wouldn’t even touch a toe to the water without getting nervous.

i love the timeless feeling of the beach. the sound of the ocean. the breeze. feels like you could stay all day. i’m excited to go back again sometime this month!

PSA: WHAT TO SAY INSTEAD OF “YOU HAVE YOUR HANDS FULL”

i took the boys downtown the other day. we’ve been a few times lately because i like the library downtown better. it’s huge and old, the way libraries should be. just across the street from the library is lake eola. its a popular spot for walking/jogging and renting swan-shaped paddle boats. on the side of the lake farthest from the library is a playground.

so we started the day learning about creatures of the night at a session they had for the kids at the library. we saw a tarantula, opossum, the cutest little screech owl, a bull frog and a couple other critters. then we went for a walk around the lake. saw this cute turtle mini-island.

i packed a lunch so we stopped on a shaded bench just to the side of the path to eat. there was a man, probably in his 60s, speed walking. as he past us he said “good job supermom!” i thought, what a spectacular way to comment on a parent with a lot of children! about 15 minutes later he passed us again and said “God bless you, have a great day!” so this guy is obviously a role model to us all, but it made me think about some of the other comments i had received the same week and how they made me feel in contrast to his.

~ trip to walgreens to pick out candy for the $1 movie: “oh wow, 4 boys. i had 2 so i know how you feel <<eyes wide, eyebrows raised>>” my thoughts were something along the lines of “if you only had 2 then i’m not seeing how you know how i feel. and come to think of it i feel fine!

~ then there was the trip to target for fishing hooks: “you’ve got your hands full today!” my thoughts, “well everyday, but yes…thanks, i think?”

~ in checkout: “oh wow, 4 boys, i only have 1, i don’t know how you do it!?” me:”well once you have multiple they start to entertain each other”, him: “yeah, yeah, i guess i could see that…” <<i don’t think he bought it>>

overall i would have to say what i hear most is “you have your hands full!” when people say this i know they are expressing sympathy to me, and i appreciate that effort. and it doesn’t necessarily require an answer from me, so that can be nice. its sort of like the universal hello to a mom with kids isn’t it? but to the mom hearing it all the time, it gets old.

like just picture if you had a certain unique quality about you and everyone commented on it all the time, but they didn’t say “i love your ‘x'”, they just commented. like “wow, those are some eyes you have” or “you sure have hair!” its like, thanks for the observation, i’m not sure if you think its a good thing or a bad thing… and you come away from it feeling too different from your fellowman.

so if you are reading this, and you’ve ever used this phrase on a parent. next time try out, “good job supermom (or dad)!” and watch their face light up.

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WORRY WART

my 5 year old son orion is a worry wart.

IMG_2857here are a couple new worries that have popped up the past few days. i want to record them so i can playfully remind him when he is a teenager and has overcome these fears {lets hope!}

 waspes {his pronunciation} and hornets : he chose medicine crackers {saltines- he started calling them medicine crackers a couple years ago because when he had diarrhea we would give him them. the name has stuck and we all now call them medicine crackers} for his snack, but they are so crumby that i’ve started having them eat them outside.

so he was sitting on the front porch eating them and i came out to do or say something and he gave me this panicked look. a look as if something life-threatening was about to happen to me. i pleaded “what?!” he yelled “wasp!!” dropped his crackers and ran for the front door. totally freaked me out! we had a couple more similar run-ins and then to top it off, a few days ago a neighbor boy was over, playing in the yard and got stung by what sounded like a hornet from his description <<a flying beetle, sob!!>>. well the next day i coaxed orion out into the pool yard, which is screened in, and he was so worried that we would be attacked by hornets. before the neighbor boy’s sting he didn’t even know the word hornet. so i was pelted with questions:

“mom, what if they fly through the hole in the screen?” “no the holes are too small for them to get through.” “well, how fat are they?” “umm, like as fat as a cockroach”{the universal bug in florida} “oh, but i think a cockroach could get in here” {that backfired}.

“mom is that a hornet up there on the ceiling?””no, it’s just a fly.”

“mom when you go out the door make sure you shut it really quick so no hornets come in”. “ok {walk out door and let it swing shut naturally}.” “MOM! quick, quick, shut it! Mom, you didn’t shut it quick!”

“Mom, if i walk will a hornet sting me?” “No.” Mom, if i run will a hornet sting me?” “Maybe, cuz you might scare them.”

“Mom, i see a hornet trying to get in.” “{look where he’s pointing, nothing}.

“orion, why don’t you go see if you can find a worm in the dirt so we can go fishing”. “no i don’t want to go out there, there might be a hornet.”

“mom, do hornets like wasps?” “i think so” “do wasps like hornets?” “yes” “do wasps like bees?” “i’m not sure” {totally making it up through that set}

he usually asks to go in the hot tub everyday and plays outside but since the hornet incident he doesn’t ask, and if i ask him he says “no, there might be hornets”. hoping he’ll get over it soon.

~ skateboarding: after watching a movie with skateboarding in it orion asked me:

“mom, when i get bigger can i skateboard?”

“sure.”

“you’ll buy me a skateboard?”

“yes”,

“and a helmet? i’ll need a helmet.”

“yes. and elbow pads and knee pads.”

{thinks for a minute, concern starts to show} “what about my feet? and my body? {he grips his torso as if to protect it, and contorts his face}

“they’ll be fine”.

{troubled look} “no, they’ll get hurt… you need to get me training.”

 

you know one thing i love about his careful nature is how he keeps track of his siblings when we are out. my oldest is a daydreamer and sometimes he’ll lag way behind or veer off to touch or look at something. orion keeps him on track “joey, come on!” or “ezra! why are you trying to get losted?” a huge help when i’ve got all 4 in tow.

his nature is so adorable.

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so i leave you with this lesson i will spend the next few decades teaching him

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LITTLE BOYS IN SHADES

i have a mild obsession with little boys wearing sunglasses

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these are from the children’s place <sponsored link: PLACE card members save 5% off every purchase at The Children’s Place! > and old navy

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i think its the grown-up effect it gives

joey patriotic

i usually don’t start buying them sunglasses until age 2 because they won’t keep them on any younger, and tend to bend them in unnatural ways. but i spotted these baby sunglasses and could not resist. well i actually did resist the first time, but subconsciously found a reason to go back a few days later and succumbed to their cuteness.

enoch sunglassesi’m having way too much fun with them now

enoch sunglasses1i’ve timed him at a total of 4 seconds of wear time

enoch sunglasses2but i’ve snapped some edible pics in those 4 second windows

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sooo i think my mild obsession has reached the strong fixation level

enoch sunglasses filterif you spot any cute sunglasses i can add to my collection let me know!

SUMMER: DAY 1

we had a fun kick off to summer! my plan for the season is one learning activity and one fun out-of-the-house activity a day. so we did a reading session in the am. i noticed last summer joey joes lost some of his reading skills so i’m determined to keep him sharp this year. he read a book from 1983, the cats’ burglar. that makes it more enriching being old, right? <<mom, do i have to read all 63 pages?>>

after lunch it was out into the world! we decided to try out the nationwide kids bowl free program. it was a lot of fun!

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the universe was smiling on us. the credit card reader was malfunctioning when i was paying for the bowling shoes so he told me not to worry about it.

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since we didn’t have to pay for the shoes i figured we could live a little and hit the arcade on our way out. as i went to the card machine to get credits for games, a young couple walked up to me. “excuse me, are those your boys? we used all the credits on our card but we have like 800 e-tickets on it if you want to use it to get a prize for your boys.”   you should have seen joey’s eyes light up when i told him we had 800 tickets!

so instead of the usual sad prizes we come home with <smarties and stickers> the boys picked out a set of four construction vehicles <perfect sharable toy!>

the day was overcast so despite the heat, it was tolerable outside which means dinner poolside! <easier clean-up for mama>

after dinner the boys put their new toys to work

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i knew there was a reason we didn’t lay sod after we had the pool built

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daddy works in the oil industry driving big trucks so it was cute to overhear some references while they played

dig2<<this is the boss truck. it doesn’t do anything>>

dig1<<boss, i need to leave and go on my anniversary trip!>>

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the digging melded into swimming and we spent a couple hours of the evening out back

happy summer everyone!