Saturday, November 1, 2014


We might live in a trailer (love calling it that), but my dad loves to say that we live in a high security gated community with million dollar homes surrounding us. This is literally and accurately very true.

We are the hillbillies of this set up. My dad lives a few "blocks" up from us in his motor home, which is much nicer than ours. Anyway.

On the weekends, Ryan sticks to his grandpa like gum on a shoe. Last night, he rode home with my dad after trick or treating. They had themselves a boy sleepover, which most likely included falling asleep to some violent super hero movie.

As usual, my dad woke up at dark thirty to go running and hit the gym. He left Ryan sound asleep. At 9am, Ryan burst through our door and declared "Holy smokes! It is FREEZING out there! Do you have any idea how cold it is? I just ran here from grandpa's house in my underwear, t shirt, and sneakers [carrying his Superman costume and bag of candy from last night]. No one saw me until the very end. Our neighbor down there in the Dutch Star saw me. That was embarrassing."

Oh the visual. Cutest kid, half naked, freezing, and hauling buns across a community filled with the wealthy elderly. My two kids are the only ones here. We stick out like sore thumbs.
Loving our adventure.

Superman and Elsa, posing in front of our neighbor's Dutch Star

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Our New Home

We are moving forward over here, checking each box off the list.

We did actually sell our house and we closed on it a month ago. We are now in a lease back from the buyers until the end of May so that Ryan can finish school and I can finish teaching PreK.

We also decided on the RV we will be buying/living in. It is a Cedar Creek Silverback Fifth Wheel. We decided on a Fifth Wheel because they boast the most room on the interior. Y'all want a tour? Yes?

Alrighty ... here we go ...

This is obviously the kitchen. The sink is there ... you can't see the opening because there is a piece of Corian cut to fit over the sink for maximum counter space when needed. Please note the quaint little window to the left ... I'm definitely gonna be doing something different with that window treatment.

Here's the rest of the kitchen. Small, but completely do-able. The only thing I'm slightly bummed about is the size of the fridge and freezer; however, we will just get used to buying groceries every few days and only refrigerating what actually needs to be refrigerated. To the left of the fridge, there's a thin storage cabinet -- probably gonna be a cleaning supply cabinet. And to the left of that is the pantry. It's a decent size and there are rolling drawers that pull out so I can cram as much as I want in there.

This is the living room. You can see the 'front' door and stairs leading up to the master bedroom. I like this floor plan because it doesn't have an actual table and chairs, which allows for a much more open floor plan. See those metal circles on the floor? Those hold the legs to two tables that can be installed, but I'm liking the idea of not having them there full time. My kids are pros at eating off their laps. I'll also most likely be changing the window treatments in here. I'm just not really a fan.

And the rest of the living room. For some reason, the wood is showing up a little fluorescent in this picture. But you can see the door to the kid's bedroom, which is the back end of the RV.

This is one side of the kid's room (don't know why the wood looks fluorescent again). I don't love the window treatments (shocker) in here either. The cabinet on the left is an entertainment center for a TV, video game console, DVD's ... whatever. I plan to store all their toy bins up on that top bunk right there. And, of course, I love the book shelf because it reminds me of our home right now. And there are actually two of those armoires to the right. They'll each have a space to hang clothes and then two drawers for undies, socks, shoes.

This is the side they'll actually sleep on. I'm bringing their adorable matching Pottery Barn bedding and bright red shag rug to help make the room feel more at home. I love that there are drawers under the beds. That thing on the bottom bunk is one of the table tops for the living room.

This is the kid's bathroom ... how much do I love that I'm not sharing a toilet with them? A whole lot.

Here is the master bedroom. Please, do your best to visualize it without that hideously ugly bedding. That's getting tossed. We'll be taking our beautiful cream silky bedding that we currently use. We are excited because the headboard is lovely and the bed is a king. The doors to the left of the mirrors is a closet for a stack-able washer and dryer. I'm thinking we will probably use it for storage and utilize the laundromat next door. At a laundromat, you can make new friends ... and do 5 loads of laundry all at one time. What's not to like about that? (that's sarcasm, but I do prefer the laundromat to a small stack-able unit) What we don't have a picture of for this exact unit is the chest of drawers across from the bed and the TV above it.

And here is the 'master' bathroom. It's not exactly luxurious, but it's more than sufficient. I like the storage above the toilet and the storage under the sink and vanity. I'm pretty sure all the essentials are going to fit just fine.

And that's pretty much the inside. Here's a quick look at some of the cool things on the outside.

Here's a bit of trivia for you: What's the difference between a trailer and a Fifth Wheel? A trailer hooks up to a tow hitch, while a fifth wheel hooks onto a specialized fifth wheel hitch inside the bed of a truck. Lots of extra space in a fifth wheel due to the extra room above the truck bed.

If you lift up that panel/door right there, you'll find an outdoor kitchen ... which will be pretty fun to use when the weather is nice. This is the only way to camp!

And finally, here's the under belly of the fifth wheel, which is where we will keep a lot of our storage. Obviously, we can only store things there that won't be ruined in high heat or extreme cold. So, we will probably be keeping winter/summer wardrobes there when the weather is hot/cold.

And allllllll that for the grand total of $350/month. Simple living, my friends. Simple living.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

How it started ...

It all started as a joke, actually

... Since last summer, I had been feeling this nagging tug ... something telling me "it's time to move".

I kept quiet and watched as homes that went on the market quickly left the market days, sometimes hours, after being listed for sale.

Then the nagging tug became more of a stern voice (not really, but you know what I mean). I mentioned the idea of moving to Gary a few times ... and his response was always "but where would we go?" He had a point. Selling high in an up market made zero sense if we were just going to turn around and buy in an up market.

Months passed ... and every time I brought it up, I was quickly frustrated because I knew we were being told to move, but I had no solution for the question of 'where'.

And then it happened. The stern voice became a scream and I felt like I was being hit over the head.

Less than 2 weeks ago, I texted Gary and told him we were supposed to move. And that we would find somewhere to rent (and save money) until the market came back down and we could buy at the right time. He agreed.

I went to visit my brother on Friday night, while Gary was on shift. I told my family that we were most likely moving and would be putting our house on the market soon. And that's when everything started to make sense.

"I might have a buyer for your house ..." my brother said.

A few months ago, my brother recruited his dear friend and old mission companion to come work for him. His friend and their family had sold their home in Colorado and were renting an apartment here while they looked for a home to buy. Just days before, his friend had given notice to their apartment complex that they were moving. They had given themselves 60 days.

So. As I sat at my brother's house and talked with him and my Dad ... someone threw out a joke about living in an RV. Something Gary had jokingly texted earlier in the day and I had dismissed as complete nonsense. Only this time, I didn't dismiss the idea. I listened as my Dad (who is heavily entrenched in the RV business) talked about the simple, unbelievably inexpensive life that awaited. And I quickly started to calculate the amount of money that could be saved if we were to make this bonkers idea a reality. So we began to do the math.

The sale of our home meant that we would make a substantial amount of money. Not using realtors to broker the deal meant that it truly was all profit. And the amount we would make would pay off absolutely every shred of debt we have anywhere. And then some. That alone makes it tempting to just walk away and purchase our next home. But. 'Why sell high only to buy high?'

We decided that we were indeed selling our home. I spent the week cleaning out every closet, every cupboard, every attic, and every room. Massive amounts of 'stuff' left our home in preparation for our one shot at a zero realtor showing ... and it. paid. off. The buyers were in.

So, we headed to my Dad's RV dealership (more like Disneyland for RVers) in Lewisville ( We toured several RV's. And later decided on a floor plan that is 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, with a kitchen, living, and dining area. Our bed is king size, which means we can take our Tempurpedic mattress and maybe, for 8 hours each night, it will be like we never left. All for what we think (at least it's looking that way right now) will cost us a total of $350/month. And if we can tap into the sewer line that runs under the property we want to park it on, it will also include our utilities in that price (they might be marginally more).

So, I came home and did my homework. And no. There is NOWHERE that a family of 4 can live for $350/month. The tiniest little home in a far out suburb is listed for $1,500/month and apartments aren't any better. And then we would spend another $300-500/month on utilities.

And now for the budget ... When you couple both mine and Gary's incomes (especially when I start teaching in the ISD in August), we can save $60-80k every year that we stay in the RV. For now, I'm mentally preparing for one year, but Gary is hoping that we will love the simple life of no chores, no yard work, and zero up keep ... and maybe stay for 2 years. And hopefully by then, the market will have come down a little where we can justify building/buying a home. We will move back to the same area we left. Only, we will be doing it with absolutely no debt and an admirable bank account in tow.

There are lots of factors that make this adventure feasible for our family:

1. We only have 2 children, who are unbelievably excited -- I can't even tell you
2. I will be teaching in an ISD that allows me to bring my kids to work ... making our choice of where to park our 'home' irrelevant
3. The kids and I will be gone the bulk of the week M-F
4. We plan to make a bucket list of places to visit every Saturday during our adventure
5. We are hoping that our awesome bishop will allow us to continue to attend church in the Prosper area, instead of switching locations to another building ... afterall, we don't actually have a residence

And there you have it!

So, our family's motto is 'We Can Do Hard Things' ... and we are going to choose to do the hard things first. Live like no one else will, so we can live like no one else can. You're welcome to join us on the journey ... come what may, it will be an adventure with lots of memories that we will surely cherish.