366 days ago there were strangers living in our house. 366 days ago we woke up to a clear blue sky and cold temps and said goodbye to Colorado for awhile. 366 days ago we got in our truck (which we had just gotten back from the shop the day before) and hitched up to a fifth wheel (which we had never lived in or pulled for more than 2 miles) and started driving south. 366 days ago I set a personal record for level and duration of my stress. 366 days ago will go down in history as one of my most favorite days of all time….not so much what happened that day, but rather what it meant and what it started. I feel like I have perfect recollection of that day….every mile, every stop, every conversation, every feeling.
Our traveling adventure together as a family is something I will cherish forever and would do again in an instant if given the opportunity. We (or, maybe it was just me) worried but we trusted and we jumped. We had trials, heavy lifting, run-ins with the law, and made mistakes. We remodel, worked, moved and made repairs. We dealt with stuff and tornados. We experience all sort of emotions but were always thankful (even for thieves) and full of happiness. We traveled over 13,000 miles covering 27 states and parked/slept/lived in 46 different locations while we visited 27 1/2 National Parks and 24 State Parks where the kids earned 20 Jr Ranger badges and 10 Jr Ranger patches (get all the details on our stats page).
We got back home to Longmont mid summer and were quick to readjust back to our non-nomadic life. We’ve had a few outings that have been outside the normal routine of life that I’ve shared about and plenty of other smaller ones that didn’t get written about. We didn’t end up taking any more trips with Ava and the Beast like we thought we might but our plan is to try to get a month long trip this next summer before we sell them both (anyone in the market for an AWESOME family rig??).
It was great to reconnect with our community and our families and the kids were so excited to get back to school. Caden played both outdoor and indoor soccer this fall/winter and also helps his science teacher manage game cameras up in Rocky Mountain National Park. He loves math and science and was invited to be in the Northern Colorado honor band this year. Dacen loves being a 5th grader and all the things that come with being top dogs at the school. He played soccer and is involved in Robotics again this year. He also took first place in the school Geography Bee. This was a highlight for me on 2 counts. First, so many of the questions seemed like they came straight from our trip that Caden and Brielle would whisper to me “I know this one!!”. And second, Dacen was such a good sport that the first thing he did before the final round was shake the other kids hand and wished him luck then when he won he gave the other kid a hug! Brielle loves her teacher and all of her classmates. She has a couple friends on our block which makes for many spontaneous play dates. She has been dancing and also experimenting with music more and more. She plays her ukulele, Steph’s violin, a keyboard, a melodica and her voice….oh her voice! She has a talent with music for sure!!!
Steph has an every-other-week Bible study at our house and she is also volunteering on the elementary school PTO. So, she stays very busy and gets to be with people…she is in her zone. Me, I’m still working for the same clients and loving it and I also volunteer as one of the robotics coaches.
We finally got a dog. The whole family except me has wanted a dog and so I finally gave in. I have to admit, I like Sheba….she is a good dog and she has become a loved and integral part of our family.
My niece Lexie passed away at the age of 21. I had never before been to a funeral where I had held the deceased as a newborn baby and known them their whole life. I will miss so many things about her not the least of which was our shared love of board games. But I am certain we will be together again for some games in heaven!
What will the next 365 days look like? One thing we are very excited about is that we will be helping with a new church plant in Erie CO (video embedded below) that will be a network church of Grace Place. Not unlike a year ago, I feel like I am very ill prepared and unqualified for this adventure…like I have no idea what I am doing. But I have learned to trust God to give me one step at a time and my job is to act….to jump. It is a thrilling adventure that I could never hope to orchestrate on my own, so I just enjoy the ride!
Oh, and it was a leap year last year so it really was 366 days ago!