What’s with Sundays?

This morning I woke up positive that today was going to be good.  The past 3 or 4 Sunday’s have just not been fabulous so I went to bed feeling a little bit dreadful but woke up feeling great! I was able to drink my entire cup of coffee while it was hot, got myself and the kids all ready for church- on time, and was about ready to head out the door when it started.  “those shoes are too tight!”  I know they are not.  I just bought them a few days ago and they fit great.  but I couldn’t convince her.  So I quickly decided it wasn’t worth the fight.  I offered a different pair of shoes- tears and crying…… “I want to wear those!”  Wait, what?  The ones you just screamed were too tight?  The tears and crying continued and I threw my hands up, taking both pairs of shoes and the child to the car where everyone else was already waiting.

Phew!  We are still on time! I silently celebrated as I put the car in reverse.  It sounded funny as I backed up, but our driveway is gravel so I put it in drive and started out, only to quickly realize that funny sound was my wheel grinding into the gravel.  Flat tire.  I put the car in park and jump out as I call my husband- who is at work (ask any firefighters wife, it all happens on their shift!) I have never changed a tire.  I go back and forth about how i feel about it.  On one hand I don’t want to be the damsel in distress calling for help over a flat.  On the other hand I don’t really feel like I have missed out on life by never changing a flat tire.  But suddenly, I had this deep desire to take care of it myself.  As Joel insisted he would come change it, I insisted I could handle it.

My oldest child and I got the tire out and started the process.  I watched a quick youtube video and up the car went.  I worked on the lug nuts and I got all but one off.  The last one was not wanting to come off.  As I was about ready to give up, our good friend showed up to help!  I didn’t know it, but Joel had already called him and asked if he could stop by since he was just a few minutes away.  He helped us finish changing the tire and off we went to church, 30 minutes late!

I get there and realize Harvey fell asleep.  A 3 year old with a 20 minute nap is no good.  I took a very cranky boy in the church.  Melt down. Nothing was right.  He was just mad.  I finally got him to stay in his class just in time to hear the sermon.  As I sat down I realized that in the madness Harvey had wiped his glazed donut all over my black shirt- oh well, I was just glad to be hearing the sermon!  The final song was about to wrap up when someone taps my shoulder “Harvey pooped in his pants” WHY?  Harvey….. Why?  He does so good, until he doesn’t.  Any way, potty training is stupid. the end.

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If we go back to when I got in the van this morning, there was a smell.  I addressed it- told the husband what I thought it was and he said to come by after church and we would take the seats out and find the source.  So that is what we did.  He pulled the seats out, vacuumed and found nothing.  I got in with some cleaner to really detail it since the seats were out.  I had already told him I was sure I knew what the smell was, but as I cleaned, it was confirmed.  I found mouse poop.  IN MY VAN.  Are you kidding me?  Where have we moved?  We have lived a lot of places and I have never in my life had so many mouse issues.  Is moving an option? I mean before we buy land again can I get a mouse survey?

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So, after taking off panels, finding a LIVE baby mouse IN MY VAN, taking off my wheel, 3 hours of searching, the dead mouse is still in there somewhere.  Why?  I mean seriously?  Who has mice living in the panel in their car?  Of course, I do!  UGH!  I don’t even know what to say.  My little kids loved the baby mouse and wanted to bring it home as a pet.  They squealed with excitement and kept saying “mommy its so cute!”  As I die inside just a little.  At what point will they both loose the “its so cute” attitude and turn into “oh my gosh there is a LIVE mouse in my car”?

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Just a few short weeks ago, I had a similar Sunday with all kinds of crazy things.  Honestly, that Sunday had a Harvey poop incident, a dead mouse (in the camper), and a flooding situation.  The Sunday’s in between have been crazy too.  I use to love Sundays.  Jesus, friends, family, food….. But now it seems like Sundays are more like poop, mice, and madness…..

Friends, I don’t know if my life is just that crazy, or maybe It is just that I don’t know the right people and others have just as many crazy things happen,  But here is my plea- if your life is full of crazy “incidents” that when you tell others they all look at you crazy and laugh, asking why weird things are always happening to you, please raise your hand, leave a comment, something!  We can start some sort of support group.  I keep wondering if maybe God is like “Hello, Mrs. Meinardus, I am obviously giving you really good material to work with!  Write it down, make lots of money with these crazy stories!” Or maybe He just likes to laugh!  If it wasn’t my life, I would totally be laughing!

Happy Camper Christmas

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This year just hasn’t felt like Christmas.  We didn’t have a tree up or any decorations.  Time has flown by and it doesn’t even seem like it should be 5 days until Christmas.  A few weeks ago we were discussing a tree.  Every year we go and get a live tree and love that tradition.  But this year, we live in a camper.  Our tree decorations are all in storage and not accessible at all.  I had pretty much just decided that we were not going to be able to have a tree.  We are so busy, things are crazy with building, and time was running out.

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Then one night I asked Joel if he thought there was any trees on our property that might work as a Christmas tree.  I told him I didn’t care if it was perfect, that really it could be a Charlie Brown type of tree.  We discussed how much fun it would be if we made popcorn garland and dried oranges to hang on the tree.

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So that is what we did!  We decided to make the best of what we had and guess what?   It turned out to be amazing!  So much fun and so many memories.  The kids all talked about how we should make this a new tradition.  I bought one ornament and we all agreed that we will put it on the tree each year to remind us of the time we spent Christmas in the camper!

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As we worked, Joel started crafting ornaments out of scrap wire from our house.  He even created a copper star for the tree topper!

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I love that even though this camper life isn’t ideal, some how we all encourage each other through it and find ways to be thankful.  Each of us have bad days where we are tired of being in the camper, but it never fails that someone else reminds whoever is down, just how much we have to be thankful for!

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Jesus is truly the reason for the season and without a tree or decorations that doesn’t change, but the memories made decorating this sweet little tree are irreplaceable! Camper Christmas has had many obstacles to figure out (like where do I keep all the presents until Christmas) but I sure am happy to be here with all of my family and our Charlie Brown tree!  And most of all this Christmas I am thankful for a savior who was sent to us as a baby on Christmas day!  Thank you Jesus!

Home Sweet Home: part 2

I am a little sad that I haven’t blogged more of our adventure.  Camper living while Joel literally builds our house is an adventure to say the least.  I am hoping to update on camper life soon, but this will be a long post updating construction over the last 2 months.   Slowly but surely, we have chipped away and gotten this far!

When I last wrote about the house, we had just finished framing.  Since then, a lot has happened but a lot of it wasn’t super noticeable so I didn’t even want to blog about it.

The windows went in and then then roof going up was the next thing.  This took several weeks to complete because it is really hard to roof alone.  Joel had to wait for help and when he didn’t have help, you can see he improvised.  It was nerve wracking at times watching him up there! img_4182

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Thankfully his dad, brother, Kamden, and our nephew all helped out several days.  We chose a galvenized metal roof which I am excited about!  I love the way it looks and can’t wait to see it with our siding and rock.

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We wanted a very open floor plan and our kitchen, living, and dinning are all one big room.  I was probably most excited about this part of our plans.  But, when it came time to design the kitchen layout, I found it very hard to envision what the big open room was going to be like.  I spent many mornings with my coffee, floor plans, Pinterest, and a tape measurer trying to make decisions.

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I finally was able to communicate to Joel and my father-in-law (who is building the cabinets) what I was wanting!  Joel was able to roughly draw up what I wanted and I showed lots of pictures and I am confident that I will love the end result!  I am so excited to see them finished!

Over the next 2 months, lots of things happened.  Electrical was ran, as well as plumbing.  Joel did this mostly on his own with help and guidance from a few experts. Joel set bathtubs, installed outlet and switch boxes, and spent lots of time in the attic and under the house.   He also has run all the duct work for the heat and air and the units in place.

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Any time I got a chance I was in the house writing scripture on the walls.  I knew I wanted to do this and had lists of scripture for every room.  I enjoyed praying the scriptures in each room and dreaming about how they would be lived out within those walls.

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In between each step we clean up.  Kamden & Jade have been a huge help and we are so thankful they willingly help!  Vera Jane spent lots of time supervising!

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Our fireplace was installed and the exterior doors went in as well.

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Insulation was up next and we did pay someone to do that.  We decided to go with spray insulation.  We have been impressed that the inside temperature of the house is pretty nice, even without any heat and air!  It was so messy during the process but they came back through and cleaned all of their mess up!  img_7274

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After insulation we were ready for sheetrock!  I was so excited for this step and to finally see what the walls would look like.  We decided to pay someone to hang the sheetrock because they can get it done so much faster then we could.  They got here at 8am and were gone by 2:15!  I was impressed!

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So here we are, sheetrock up!  Finishing should start next week and then we will move on to paint and floors!

Joel fell through the ceiling a few nights ago.  Luckily he caught himself and didn’t hit the ground, but there is a little patch job that will need to happen!  I am thankful that he was ok and just a little sore!

We have all had to learn a little patience through this project.  Each step has come with delays and unexpected things.  We haven’t met the deadlines we put in place and I have especially had to learn to just go with it.  I am not good at it by any means and I have spent more days disappointed then I would like to admit, but when this is over I know I will look back and be glad we chose to do things this way- even if it wasn’t the easiest way!

If you give a mouse popcorn

Everyday seems like a new adventure in the camper.  I discover something daily.  Now, not all of the things I discover are monumental or worth documenting,  but a few are.  Lets see, at times, there is the realization that the camper is really small.  When you are trying to get ready for church and all the little people want to play and run, but there is really only a small space to do that, and you can’t send them outside or their Sunday best will be a mess.  So in the end, mom looses her mind and yells at everyone because she can’t seem to get ready when little people keep running her over while she tries to curl her hair.

Or maybe the lesson of “if you give a mouse popcorn….” is one I should share….. Have you ever been in a camper?  If you have, you will know that the sleeping quarters are close to the kitchen because everything is close! In our case, the stove sits on the wall to our bedroom.  From my bed to the stove is literally 2 steps away.  A few nights ago I woke up to a strange sound.  I couldn’t identify it right away.  I sat up and listened and thought one of my kids was out of bed for sure.  I used my handy iPhone flashlight to shine into the living room and no one was up.  By then the sound was gone so I laid back down.  As I settled back into bed I hear the noise again and I suddenly realize that sound is likely a critter.  My heart starts racing a little bit because I am scared of critters.  I slowly slide out of bed and creep around the corner with my flashlight on.  I see that there is a bag of Stirred popcorn (it is covered in sugar) that was upright against the wall when I went to bed, is now laying on its side and moved over.  I knew then that there was for sure a critter.  I jumped back in bed fast and debated what to do.  Where is my brave husband?  If you have read this blog before you know where he is- at the fire station!  After what felt like an eternity of listening to that MOUSE eat through the bag of popcorn, I finally caved and called Joel.

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What was he going to do?  I don’t have a clue but I needed another adult to talk me off the ledge.  “what are you afraid of?”  UMMMM Hello?  There is a mouse, a few feet away from me, eating a bag of popcorn.  “I know but what do you think is going to happen?”  All I am picturing is Ratatouille, you know that cute rat cartoon, and I am picturing that mouse calling all his friends to come eat the popcorn with him.  I don’t know what i think might happen but I just want the mouse to go away.  My sweet husband suggests I go get the bag of popcorn and throw it out.  No way is that happening.  I just can’t.

So, apparently camper living comes with friends.  Friends I don’t care for.  Friends I would like to leave.  And if you give a mouse popcorn, he will probably stick around to see what else you have, in case you are wondering.

Look, I live in a  camper with 7 people and at least one mouse.  Life is a mess most days.  Please don’t be offended if I invite myself over or show up unannounced at your house.  I know it is rude, but I am just asking for grace in advance.  If you feel so inclined, just invite us over before I show up at your doorstep without warning.  I am normally all about bringing gifts of homemade bread and desserts as thank you for having us, but since my camper oven over cooks in one 1/2 and undercooks on the other, I don’t know if you will want to eat anything I bring, so I will spare you that.

So here I am, 5 weeks into camper living, thinking to myself, When is this house going to be done?

Today at church, I had the sweetest lady tell me “well you just have it all together!”  In case it appears that way, I will first say I absolutely do not!  The other day I took this picture of myself (yes, a selfie) and I thought Wow, I actually look pretty good right now!  Then about 5 minutes later I found BBQ sauce in my hair. Moral of the story, not everything looks as it appears.  Ok friends, don’t forget to high five your mommy friends you see out in public with their kids.  It really is work to get there! Happy Monday!

Camper Fever

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Camper Fever- just like cabin fever, you know, but for a camper.

It started with a stomach bug.  Some how this bug managed to strike me when the husband is at the fire department.  (actually, everything bad happens when he is at the fire station, I bet any fire fighters wife will agree!) So I am sick something awful, trying to nurse the baby and keep up but I have no strength left in me.  I guess the good news is the camper is small so the bathroom is close!  After a few days of being in the camper because the stomach bug was being passed around, it rained.  Maybe some people are excited for rain.  Me, not so much!  Rain means the kids are inside. the tiny camper. ALL.DAY.LONG

By the time Joel is home for the day, I am in a unique mood.  I remember sitting on the couch in a daze staring off into no where land as I hear the baby crying, a 2 year old jumping on my back, a 4 year old dramatically telling me why she should change clothes, and 2 preteens impatiently waiting to get to where they were going.  It was my first glimpse of camper reality. All 7 of us, in this tiny space, all fighting for what they need. In that moment I thought no way this will ever get better.  I will have to live this way forever! The inner drama I was creating was close the the 4 year old’s drama- unrealistic and ridiculous, but none the less, I just sat there in my moment.

*Just for fun, when the dramatic 4 year old was complaining about her inability to change outfits, I decided to sing a little song “you can’t always get what you want….. but if you try sometimes, you might find, you get what you need”  With arms crossed, head turned slightly sideways, she replies in a very sarcastic tone “thanks for that, mom” If you need me, I will be trying to figure out how to parent a 4 year old teenager.

In the mix of my camper reality there is camper cooking.  I am not sure if we got a reject oven or if maybe camper oven’s are just wonky.  I can’t figure ours out.  Sometimes it takes forever for stuff to cook.  Like the time says 10 minutes but it takes 25 minutes.  But this particular day, 8 minutes into the 29 minute cook time, I smell burning.  I open the oven to see that 3 of the 7 personal pizza’s in the oven have a burning crust.  How do I reconfigure that?  Trying to save the pizza’s by quickly pulling them from the oven, one falls between the grates making a melty cheesy mess that quickly turned into a burning cheesy mess.  I have about given up on the camper oven.  Not to mention I have to get half way in the oven to light the pilot every time I need to use it.  Sounds like next time we want pizza, its Dominos!

Everyday someone asks me at least one of two questions.  “How is life in the camper?” or “How is life with 5 kids?”  Not sure if people are cheering me on or secretly hoping I have some really good story to tell.  Maybe both! You want the truth?  I have no clue which aspect of my life makes it feel overwhelming right now, but life is overwhelming.  If you ask how life in the camper is, it really isn’t that bad!  There have been very few moments I that the camper, by itself, makes me wonder what on earth we are doing.  If you ask me how life with 5 kids is I will tell you good for the most part.  Adding #5 hasn’t really shaken things up too terribly much.  BUT  when we add, less sleep + nursing baby + 2 teen/preteens who are busy and need to be taken everywhere + building a house +  2 & 4  year olds + the rest of life I am not listing, I am overwhelmed some.  So if you see me out with all the kids doing all the things, my hair is fixed and I am smiling, just high five me and know that even then, I am probably feeling like a hot mess.  If you see me out in the same situation but my hair is a mess, I have spit up on my shirt, and I look frazzled, high five me any way because I am showing you my hot mess!

Just jumping in

With our first 2 weeks down in the camper, there are few things I have to note.  Let me start by saying I went into this somewhat blindly.  I had never stayed in a camper until the first night here.  I really had no idea what to expect.  If you are reading this and you frequently stay in a camper you may roll your eyes at some of my findings, but for this newbie, there were a few things I wasn’t ready for.

  1. It is bedtime and we are all nestled in our little bed, when all of the sudden the entire camper is shaking and I am sitting up in bed asking if someone is breaking in.  Joel informs me one of our kids rolled over in their bed.  oh. all that shaking for a shift in position?  well, ok then!
  2. The toilet room is extremely small.  I mean, I know you aren’t suppose to be doing a lot of moving around but goodness.  Also, it kind of feels like a port-a-potty, which doesn’t feel fabulous.  I am getting use to it now but will be extra happy to have normal toilets in the new house!
  3. When your water is ran from a hose to the camper, when  you take a shower it really makes you feel like you are showering from the garden hose.  Essentially, you are, but just inside.  You know how water smells coming out of the hose outside?  Or is that just me and my overly sensitive nose?  Any way, it is a thing, at least for me!
  4. Speaking of shower, when you have 7 people who need to be bathed, and your husband says “oh by the way, you will have to wait at least 20 minutes between each shower because the hot water tank isn’t very big” you realize that showers will now have to be scheduled and no one is allowed to get dirty unless their scheduled shower is next. 

  5. While blow drying my hair in the middle of the day, all electricity goes off.  I realize I have thrown a breaker.  After I threw the breaker 3 more times I realized I wasn’t going to get to blow dry my hair.  Apparently when it is 98 degrees outside the camper is working really hard to stay cool and can’t handle my blow dryer.  My shower is now scheduled first thing before it gets hot.

It is funny how we get use to certain things and even though there really isn’t anything to complain about living here (we have a roof over our head, electricity, running water, indoor potty), but it still takes some getting use to.  I am so thankful for this opportunity and right now I am welcoming the challenges the camper brings. (ask me again in a month or two!)  Now if I could just get excited the challenges that the 2 & 4 year old are currently bringing…….

We have had so many people ask us how it is going living in the camper and I must say that so far, it really hasn’t been bad.  It has only been 2 weeks of staying here and we have a long ways to go still.  I am happy to have less to clean and I am enjoying the simplicity living in the camper has brought.

Here’s to another week of camper living, coffee, & Jesus!

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Adventure Awaits!

IMG_0016It has been a very long time since I sat down to write.  I miss it because it is so therapeutic to me!  A lot has happened since I blogged last.  We have started a new adventure and I thought this was a great time for me to get back to the blog. 

Entrepreneurs, parents to 5 kids, homeschooling, hobby farmers (this is on the back burner but will be happening again), we are dreamers for sure.  For the last year we have been searching for land and finally found the perfect piece!  In July we closed on the land and started the process of building our new house!  Our lives seem to be ever changing as we create new chapters and sometimes that seems overwhelming and chaotic.    

But just when you thought we couldn’t get any crazier…… We decided it would be best for our family to move while we build the house.  So with our 2 week old brand new baby and other 4 kiddo’s in tow, we moved…. into a camper!  Yep, you read that right!  We moved our family of 7 into a camper on our land. 

We have been asked “Are you crazy?  Why would you do that?” When we made the offer of the land, we had not planned to move into a camper.  But as time went on and we were getting closer to starting the house, I begain thinking about all the time that Joel would be here working on the house and we would be 25 minutes away at our house.  I would be trying to drive back and forth to take dinner to Joel and make sure he didn’t need anything.  I knew I would be trying to keep up with our big house with 5 kids (one of which would be a newborn) and I knew we would feel torn between the two properties.  When I came to Joel and suggested the camper idea he was shocked and excited because he thought it was a great idea but couldn’t believe I would be willing to do it! 

In the end we knew that building a house ourselves would present plenty of obstacles and that either way, staying in our house or moving to a camper, we would be challenged.  We just decided that having us all in one location was the challenge that would work best for us!

So if you are up for some funny stories, keep reading because I plan to try to blog this adventure regularly.  Life inside a camper with 7 people living in it is guaranteed to never be dull!

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