Yes, it’s been a while. A very loooooong time, in fact, since I’ve posted on my blog. The last time was after my friend Heidi passed away last Spring – over a year ago!! This time, it’s after my mom passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack on March 23rd in her apartment in Thomasville, Georgia. She had been sick, but none of us expected this. It’s still so surreal. Needless to say, it’s been a crazy couple of months. I honestly have a hard time actually finding time to post here and on any social media.
Anyway, for those of you that are interested, here’s an abbreviated account of some of the events of the last 2.5 months. I will most likely post more details about each of these later here on the blog. Blogging…..that’s a whole other struggle, too!!
White Sands National Monument & Saguaro National Park
After we left Mesa Verde in Colorado, we drove down to Las Cruces, MN to visit White Sands. It was AMAZING!!!! We had so much fun that we actually went twice just to play on the dunes. We spent a week dry camping at the base of the Organ Mountains, where we were also able to climb. It was truly gorgeous. March 14-18th, we made a quick stop trough Tuscon for Saguaro National Park which was so cool!! I had no idea these cacti were so extraordinary. I’m so glad we went.
On To Phoenix, AZ – High Performance Academy
We then headed to a beautiful campground on Lake Pleasant an hour north of Phoenix for the week. We were there to attend Brendon Burchard’s High-Performance Academy downtown that started that Thursday.
As I was driving in Phoenix traffic the morning of Friday, March 23rd, we got the call that my mom had passed.
I continued to drive through the upset and tears and made the decision to complete the seminar through Sunday. It was exactly where I needed to be and I had SO MUCH love and support around me. I could not have been in a more perfect place. I was glad I made the decision to stay. We actually drove our house into downtown Phoenix and parked in a parking garage Sunday since we had to leave immediately afterward to drive to Long Beach for the DoTerra Leadership convention that started Monday morning. Parking in a parking garage was a first!
Traveling with (Unwanted) Stowaways
We arrived in Long Beach after a long and VERY WINDY drive that evening and made our way to the convention center the next morning. During this time, Mike was making arrangements for all 4 of us to fly to Atlanta and RV reservations in Las Vegas. We also now realize that we have picked up desert mice while we were in Phoenix.
My fear now is that we would leave the RV before we got rid of the mice!!!
We left Long Beach on Saturday and drove to Vegas, with a stop at Costco on the way to buy luggage! We never anticipated traveling without our house in tow, so we had no luggage.
We celebrated Easter on Sunday. When we got back from church, we noticed that the AC was not cooling very well, and this is NOT a good thing in Vegas. It was hot!! We had originally planned to have a relaxing family day, but now we had an AC to fix. Mike went to the store to get supplies and then went to work. It was too hot inside to cook, so I pulled my Instant Pot outside where I was cooking lamb for our Easter dinner. As I was just finishing up the perfect blend of butter, onions, and garlic, Mike sprays the top of the RV and a bunch of the AC cleaning chemicals got all in the pot! There’s also a hole in the roof now here he pulled the AC unit and all the water and chemicals have leaked inside onto my just-washed dishes drying in the sink. It was a mess!! I had to clean up and start dinner all over, but we survived! The AC works much better now 🙂
3 Weeks of (Crazy) Travel – Leaving the RV Behind
We had to pack the kids for weather in Gainesville, Ga and I had to pack Mike and myself for North Georgia, South Georgia and Prague weather. Yes, Prague!! We flew from Vegas to Atlanta on Tuesday and then rented a car to drive the 90 minutes to Gainesville. We got there just around midnight and got the kids settled and went to sleep.
Memorial Service For Mom
We got up at 5 am the next morning to leave by 6 am to make the drive down to Thomasville, after making a stop in McDonough to pick up a friend of mom’s to take her to the service. We arrived at mom’s apartment around noon and got to work. Along with my siblings, we worked until about 6:30pm going through her belongings and getting everything ready for an “estate” sale.
Thursday morning was her memorial service at the Baptist church. There were a beautiful urn and a canvas picture of her surrounded by beautiful flowers. It was really nice, yet very surreal. My dear friend Cristy drove up from Orlando and surprised me. It was so nice to have her there that day and for the night. Mike and I stayed at mom’s best friends’ house for the week. I spent the next several days, along with tons of help, getting everything sorted and wrapped up.
We donated most of her stuff to families in need and safe houses for battered women. We sold some, kept a few items for ourselves, and there’s still stuff in storage. Mike and I drove back to Gainesville, GA late Tuesday (4/10/18) evening after a full work day that day and an exhausting 7 days. I can’t believe we got it all done. I still can’t believe she’s gone.
The rest of the week I spent homeschooling my kids, getting laundry done, reorganizing and packing yet again. I had to get the boys caught up from the week I was gone, as they chose not to do much school at Grammy and Poppy’s. This was their first death, and they needed time to process things.
Prague – Just the Two of Us
Saturday we left for Prague, in the Czech Republic for a week for a business retreat. No kids, just the two of us along with 60 new friends we met once we arrived. It was amazing but we were exhausted from the 6-hour time difference. There was NO sleeping in as breakfast was at 7 am and class or sightseeing began every day at 8 am. It was so worth it!! What an amazing and breathtaking place!!
The Long Journey Back Home
We flew back to Atlanta that next Sunday. By the time we landed back in Atlanta we had been up for 24 HOURS!! It was utterly miserable and we just wanted to sleep. However, we still had a 1 hour train ride on Marta north of town to pick up Mike’s sister’s car to drive back to Grammy & Poppy’s house in Gainesville.
Severely sleep deprived, we arrived at the wrong Marta station after an hour of travel on the wrong line!
Monday (4/23/18) morning came early and Mike had to work. I had to do laundry, get organized, pack for everyone and get ready to fly back to Vegas on Tuesday. We were so jacked up when we got back to Vegas because of the time zone changes. Wednesday & Thursday I spent unpacking and organizing and swapping out our winter clothes for summer ones since it was 90+ degrees in Vegas. I finally got to go grocery shopping Friday morning with the kids. Five minutes after I left, Mike called.
He called me to tell me his mother was at the hospital and had suffered a heart attack. YOU ARE FREAKING KIDDING ME – I thought.
I did not know how we were still functioning at this point! It was all too much. The kids were freaked out because they just lost my mom to a heart attack, and now Grammy had one. I spent the day out with the kids and got more details when we got home. Mike’s mom is doing much better now, but we spent the weekend stressed out about Grammy. There wasn’t much we could do from a distance other than talk, console, and most importantly… pray. Luckily, Mike’s sister Kristen and her wife Emily were able to step in and help in every way possible. We’re so grateful for them!
Leaving Las Vegas
Goodbye, heat! We left Vegas on 5/30 and spent a few days in Apple Valley, CA before heading to San Diego that Friday for Mike’s work. Horseman’s Center at Apple Valley was such a nice surprise. It was only $6.50 a night, and it was perfect. There were climbing and bouldering galore. We had a few days of intense school, lots of work and intentional play. We worked extra hard in school because we knew we wanted to play in San Diego.
San Diego – Amazing Weather, Here We Come
Mike was presenting at an industry conference that week in San Diego and we needed time to rest and recharge. Although Mike had to work, we still got the whole Cinco De Mayo weekend to just play. I had gotten the boys ahead in school so we had very little to do that week but hang out and enjoy Campland on Mission Bay.
There’s SO MUCH to see and do in San Diego, yet we only left the campground twice to eat with people Mike worked with. Sometimes we need to not do anything, especially after so many weeks of craziness, none of which I have shared until now. It was the first weekend I had NOTHING I needed to do since the middle of March! It was pretty fantastic!! NO ALARM waking me up!!
From Ocean Breeze to Desert Heat
And it was a good thing we got a little R&R that week!! The day we left San Diego, we traveled about 6 hours to a Boondocker’s Welcome host location not far from Death Valley. We were so excited. They were having unseasonably cooler weather, and the high was only to be about 93 at Furnace Creek instead of the 114 it had been just days before. We arrived, met our hosts, set up our rig and went to sleep anticipating an early rise to get into Death Valley to spend a full day.
Puke, Broken RV Stuff, & Mother’s Day
At 3:50 am, Bryce came in and had thrown up all over the place. I took care of him all day Saturday as he kept puking until 8:30 that night. We decided that we were most likely not going anywhere the next day since Bryce needed to recover.
Towing your home around and subjecting it to hurricane force winds and minor earthquakes takes its toll on things.
Since we weren’t able to go anywhere Saturday or Sunday, Mike started to tackle our broken water pump, plumbing, and electrical issues. This is when we discovered a crack in our black tank – yep. The BLACK TANK!!!!! So, for Mother’s Day and Father’s day, we bought ourselves a composting toilet. It’s just sitting here waiting to be installed. WooHoo! Never thought I would be excited about a toilet!! LOL
I had to clean the house and then do puke-covered laundry at the laundromat all day on Mother’s Day while Mike fixed the water pump, plumbing and electrical issues. I had the laundromat mostly to myself – I was the only mother in there! To top off the awesome weekend, I ended up being in bed so sick all day on Monday – fever, terrible stomach pains, wicked headache and I threw up, too. I haven’t been that sick in 4 years! I only got out of bed to pee or puke!
To top it off, later that day we got a notification that our unlimited data line that we use to stay connected for work was being canceled by 5/16/18. Another project and challenge to deal with 🙂
Man, We Need a Break!
The desert was heating back up into the mid-90’s and Death Valley was going back to the 110’s again. I woke up Tuesday feeling 100%, so decided to pack up and travel again to outside Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks for the rest of the week.
We missed our window for cooler temps in Death Valley so we’ll have to wait until the fall when things cool down again. The desert was great, but it is fantastic to be back in the mountains again.
This past Friday we arrived outside Yosemite – one of our absolute favorite places. We spent the weekend exploring and will return this weekend to head into the backcountry to go backpacking for a few days with our boys. We could not be more excited and we need this time to literally get away from it all.
Wilderness is refreshment for my soul 🙂
There will be LOTS more about Yosemite.
Well, I’m tired after reading all of that! Through all of this, I have held up. I had ONE day when I completely broke down and it was the day after we got back from Prague. It was most likely jet lag and sheer physical and mental exhaustion. I just keep going……..
I have made the commitment to myself to keep up with my blog so I can minimally document our journey for my family. I hope I can count on you to help hold me accountable 🙂 Thank you for reading and allowing me to share.