Quick Trip to Dinosaur Valley State Park

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Every year, the weekend after Christmas, we drive up to Fort Worth for Joe’s Family Christmas.  And every year we pass by Dinosaur Valley State Park and say we will go there….someday. This year, we decided to make “someday” happen, and we drove the RV up to Fort Worth for the couple of days we were there and then stayed and extra couple of days in the park on the way home. The weather wasn’t ideal,  our fridge wasn’t working (gotta figure that one out now), and Darby was a total brat and busted out of her kennel (more mods needed) and scratched up the screen door, but we did get in a few good hikes and were able to find some dinosaur tracks in the river.  Loralai got some scootering in and Juliet got to play in the river bed sand.  All of us had a great time spending the time together.  I love that most about RVing; small space, no cell coverage, and it’s a recipe for some serious family time!

Family Time in Fort Worth
Family Time in Fort Worth
Singing carols.  (Yep, we really do that!)
Singing carols. (Yep, we really do that!)

It’s always so much fun visiting Joe’s Mom’s family in Fort Worth!  The kids get so many presents as well!  It’s like Christmas all over again for them and they love being with so much family!

Present OVERLOAD!
Present OVERLOAD!

Dinosaur State Park

We hiked...in the cold...and couldn't find what we were looking for.  But we enjoyed it.
We hiked…in the cold…and couldn’t find what we were looking for. But we enjoyed it.
We played.
We played.

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Lou. She’s still little…..sometimes.
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And played some more.
And played some more.
Dug holes in the sand.
Dug holes in the sand.

 

Walked along the river.
Walked along the river.  (Did I mention it was COLD!?)
First Meal Made in "NEW" RV kitchen!  Backsplash didn't melt off, extra counter space was a dream, and noting was set on fire.  Success!
And cooked.  First Meal Made in “NEW” RV kitchen! Backsplash didn’t melt off, extra counter space was a dream, and noting was set on fire. Success!

And after all that, guess who forgot to take pictures of the Dinosaur Prints at Dinosaur Valley State Park?!  Oh well, guess we’ll just have to return….someday.

Another great trip!
Another great trip!
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Scary Things are So Dang Hard To Do!

Deciding to go on a trip of this caliber is sometimes overwhelming!  I have to reconvince myself just about every day that we are going to do this.  As a matter of fact, every day I say to Joe, “We are really going to do this, right?!”.  To which (so far) he always replies, “Yes”.  So then I pack a box or reno something in the RV and wait to ask him again the next day.  We are just going through the motions of getting everything ready, one bite at a time, until we leave.

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What are we waiting on?  It seems like a long list of “little things” that keep us here.  All of which when taken by themselves, do not seem like good enough reasons for us to not have left yet.   This includes things like, clean the garage more, trim that bush by the gate, touch up paint the inside of the house, wax the RV, withdraw Lou from school, get a curriculum, sell the van, pack…okay, so maybe there’s some stuff we still have to do.   We are biting those off one at a time and it’s taking FOREVER!

Plus, if you haven’t noticed, it’s freaking COLD outside!!!  Mustering the motivation to go anywhere or do anything is taking EXTRA energy in this soggy, bitter weather!!!

And…..we still have out of town guests staying with us.  We love having them, but we are not doing much to get us ready to leave while hosting.   Add to this, that we’ve been doing “the holidays” for about a month now, and we are considering banning Christmas next year!

And then I could throw work in there as well.  There are a few deals I’d like to close, or at least start before we head out.

And the biggest reason for hesitating to leave…..I’m super scared!  Not sure why, really.

But at some point, not so long ago, this sounded like a really good idea.  And when I’m not thinking about how scared I am, it still seems like a really good, got to do it while we can, idea!  But I’m still struggling.  So, in an attempt to put my mind at ease, I’ve made a list of all the scary things that could go wrong, and what I plan to do about them.  I learned this skill in Weight Watchers.  It’s called story boarding.  Thank you WW.

Super Scary Things That Could Happen…

  1. The trailer comes unhitched from the truck while driving and we create a multiple car pileup that people die in. See, Scared!   In reality though, Joe has actually shown me the mechanics of the trailer and how if it somehow became unhitched while driving, how the trailer brakes would actually stop the trailer.  Still, I’m hoping there are some YouTube videos I can watch on this happening and disaster being avoided.
  2. Kids get really hurt or sick and I have to figure out where to take them FAST, or they could die. I have healthy kids.  We are so lucky!  The likelihood of this is very small.  I will watch my kids, and will do a quick phone search of the nearest medical facility when we arrive at each place we stay so I know where it is.
  3. 1 year ends up being way too long to be away from friends, even with our visits to see family and a few friends that come out to see us, and the kids and I are miserable. We have done this before.  I know we get used to it, and even learn to like it.  Plus, we are visiting lots of people we love as we travel the US.  And there are always new friends to make on the road!
  4. The kids drive us crazy! Okay, this is bound to happen.  But, there are two of us (adults), we can do this!  And our kids are pretty wonderful.  As they settle into a routine, they will drive us less crazy….right?
  5. The dog drives us crazy! Big concern!  But, taking her could also make her a better dog (she’s already pretty great).  And most of the time someone will be at the RV with her.  And we can always board her if we go on longer than a day trips.  And most places, we can take her with us.  And we like her and we would truly miss her if she weren’t with us.  Still, better look up how much it would cost to ship her home.
  6. I will not be able to find someone who can cut my hair well and end up traveling the US with weird bangs. I may just have to let the bangs go on the trip…and that’s okay.
  7. What does happen if a tire on the truck blows while driving the trailer? See #1 for possible problems associated with this.  I’m going to have to Google this one.
  8. We will forget important things, and pack too much crap that we don’t use. The plan is to hang out in TX, very close to home for the first few weeks, so we can exchange things at my mom’s house if that’s the case.  And we can always buy things as we need them and donate things that go unused.
  9. I’m terrible at homeschooling Lou and she learns NOTHING, and I find out that teaching a 3rd grader is an impossible task when you also have a 4 year old and 1 year old to look after. I’ve read so many books on homeschooling, and will read so many more before we leave!  I love the ones that just lay out a typical day in the life of a homeschooler.  They prove that people with younger kids can do this!  Plus I was a teacher for a few years.  That’s gotta help, right?  I do think I can do this.  I just haven’t figured it out yet.  And I guess I feel like I should have it figured out already.  But it might be a, figure-it-out-as-you-go type of thing.  Okay, will have a curriculum base by the end of THIS MONTH!
  10. Cold weather. We are doing this to get AWAY from bad weather.  We are chasing the ideal, perfect weather!  We choose where we want to go!  I think all this packing scarves has gone to my head!
Sweeties
Sweeties

I realize that some of these concerns are petty.  But they still live in my head, and so now they live on this blog as well.  In an attempt now to counter some of these fears, I’ve also made a list of all the things that could go astronomically right.

Awesome Things That Could Happen…

  1. The trailer stays attached to the RV all the times that we drive it AND we never hit a single thing, not even a tree branch. I do believe that this is actually how things will end up.  Joe is an amazing driver!  And when/if I drive the RV, it will only ever be on straight stretches of interstate.  Yes, I promise Mom!
  2. NO ONE gets hurt or really sick while we are on our trip. It’s a miracle!!! And it’s what ended up happening our last time out.
  3. We get our fill of seeing family in their homes, that we never get to see and create bonds that will last the kid’s lifetimes. And lots of friends come out to visit us and stay in nearby cabins that I have scouted for them (cause, let’s be real y’all, no matter how positive a spin we put on it, the RV ain’t THAT big).  We Skype with Nana and friends regularly, and we are never lonely.  Note to self, this includes Mama planning any and all holidays to be around peeps we know!  For some reason to my psyche, this is a MUST for not feeling lonely!
  4. We all get along smashingly as a family! Better than ever!  The tiny space brings us all together like, Little House on the Prairie close, but without all the problems.  We learn to block each other out when we want to be alone and the kids feel more secure than ever, knowing Mom and Dad are just a few feet away while they play and sleep.
  5. The dog is a dream to have on the trip. The perfect companion for us all and the one Loralai whispers all her secrets to when she needs a friend.  She learns to not run off and to stop barking and everyone and becomes even a better dog than she already is!  And taking her out while she’s still a puppy seals this new training for the rest of her life, making her, literally, the best chug dog in the world!
  6. With all my new free time that I’ve gained by having little to no social calendar, very little work, and having no house work to do (right Joe?), I now have a handful of hobbies that I work on every week, including, crocheting, playing guitar and singing around the camp fire with my family “band”, hiking, writing, reading stacks of books, and taking amazing less crappie photos.
  7. Also with this new found time, I will better groom my dog with daily brushings, weekly baths, monthly teeth brushings, and a short training session daily. Maybe I should have Lou do all this stuff?  I’m already procrastinating, just thinking about it.
  8. I will wake up early (don’t laugh), and have some “me time” each day before the kids wake.
  9. Also with this time, I will get super BUFF and lose the last of the baby weight forever! I’ll run 3 times a week and do yoga 3 times a week.  I mean, just walking the dog 3 times a day will be added calories I burn.  Plus I’ll be making all my meals (mostly cause I’m terrible at ordering at new restaurants, and end up hating every place we go), and will have the time to track every calorie I eat!
  10. Also with this time, I will be a better, more focused mother. I’ll play with my kids more and just be present for them.  I’ll read them more books and go on more walks with them, and teach them things and listen to their stories and songs that never end.
  11. We’ll see some really amazing things, that we never even knew existed, have some magical moments, and become better, more educated people for it.
  12. I end up LOVING homeschooling Lou and we get into a groove and she thrives and is so happy and we love spending all our time together. And Juliet accidently ends up learning a ton too!  Maybe we even love it so much that I don’t send her back.
  13. Adventures are had! Isn’t that what life’s about?!

So we will go.  But we have decided that we will go when we are ready and the time is right.  That may be in 3 weeks (Hahahaha), or it might be in 3 months.  We are done stressing ourselves out about it and living half lives in the meantime.  So I’m gonna sign up for that yoga studio and put my kids in an extracurricular class, and work on getting stuff checked off our list, and when we are ready, we will leave.  And of course have a BIG TRAILER TRASH PARTY before we do!

Okay, we’re going!  We’re really going to do this!  We are!  Right, Joe?

Goof!
Goof!
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