Are We There Yet?

Are we there yet? Have we reached our final destination? What is up with us you all wonder?

When we left California in 2010 to live a nomadic life, we had no idea how long it would last. Have we landed to put roots down, never to move again? I don’t know. It doesn’t really matter.

Life changes. Sometimes we can control the changes; most often we can’t. It’s a journey – one we are continuing to take.

Even though we have a ‘home’ now here in Rice Lake, Wisconsin – we will continue to explore new places. In fact, this coming week we’ll be spending three days in a city we’ve never visited before – Rochester, Minnesota.

I think our life is kind of like this fallen tree.

fallen tree

This evergreen in our front yard fell over in a storm a week or so ago. A tall tree that once fallen extended from the front yard to almost the back of the house. But the roots are still there – the core.

We sort of knocked our tree of life over on purpose back in 2010. But the roots – the core – are still there. They will grow again – though the tree may look different now.

So, what’s life like now here in Rice Lake?

Every day from my kitchen window I’m reminded of Ireland. What?! That’s right. The house next door has this moss growing on the roof and it reminds me of Ireland.

view from  my kitchen window

I get up every morning to here my little girl respond to my “How are you?” with “Happy!” just like she always has. Joel and I get to work together in our little office in the dining room with a view of trees, squirrels, birds and sometimes bunnies. My son, James, is with us. We have good friends and are able to do things for Joel’s mom who lives nearby.

Are we there yet? Where we’re supposed to be? For now, yes! Of course, that may change. So stay tuned…

Visiting Como Park Zoo & Conservatory in Saint Paul Minnesota

Saturday we had a chance to visit Como Park Zoo & Conservatory in Saint Paul Minnesota. They are open 365 days a year till 4 pm and until 6 pm April through September. The admission is free with a suggested donation of $2 per adult and $1 per child to help with costs. “You are always welcome whether or not you choose to donate.”

There’s a free shuttle from various parking lots in the area. It’s best to use the shuttle and to check their website for parking locations. We got a shuttle painted like a giraffe that Fiona loved!

There’s a carousel that’s just $1.50 to ride. Fiona decided not to ride this time. Maybe next time.

We saw primates, tigers, lions and bears. In addition to the polar bears, there were brown bears being housed temporarily. They had been in North Dakota but needed a new shelter for a bit due to the flooding in North Dakota.

The conservatory was full of beautiful plants and flowers. Fiona also enjoyed the Children’s Gallery & RibbitZit area.

It was a very relaxing and inexpensive way to spend Saturday afternoon.


The Boys Learn Pizza Making Techniques from Joel

Last night our new friend Adam had us come over so Joel could teach him and some of his friends how we make our home made pizza – from dough made from scratch to the sauce made from scratch. What a lot of fun we all had.

making pizza dough
Adam learns to make crust

Adam and his roommates thought this was a special treat. Along with nearly a dozen other friends, it was a night full of pizza making and fun company. These ‘boys’ actually range from 25 to 35 – right about our older kid’s ages who range from 22 to 30.

Adam's really getting into it now!
Adam's really getting into it now!

Matt is married with a teenage daughter. We got to meet Matt’s wife as well and had a very enjoyable chat. We certainly think they are pizza pros now! Of course we brought along our baking stone – another kitchen staple that goes with us everyone. It’s not only perfect for baking pizza on, we use it for our home made bread.

Matt enjoys the pizza making process!
Matt enjoys the pizza making process!

House Sitting in Minnesota with Two Boxers, Three Cats and One Homeschooler

We’ve been house sitting in Saint Paul for about 10 days and have about 10 days to go. ¬†Our host is on vacation in Europe and has two boxers and three cats that needed to be cared for. It’s actually not that hard. The boxers are very friendly and most obedient. It was a challenge one morning when the male decided to stay under the house when we wanted him to come back in to his kennel so we could leave for a bit. He finally came in though and we got done what needed to be done.

One of the cats can be seen often and likes to sleep on the bed at my feet. No problem. Two of the cats I didn’t even see for a few days. The like to hide. Last night all three of them came out to the living room and wanted attention while Fiona and I were watching TV.

And then there’s our homeschooler – Fiona. She started second grade on September 1st. We have a huge pile of all kinds of fun books to learn from. She loves the geography book and the map of the world puzzle.

We’ve made some new friends and will be visiting with the niece of one of our friends in California later this week. We’re planning the next leg of the trip the first week of October as we leave here, go back to Wisconsin for a few days and then head towards Philadelphia and New Jersey. We’ve got that big book release party to prepare for in Philly in November.

Leaving Colorado and Heading Back to California for a Short Visit

We’ve enjoyed house sitting again for Rita in Colorado. They are coming back one day early so we’re leaving a day early. That’s okay. Nomads must be flexible! We’re so flexible that a week or so ago we changed our plans entirely and decided to head back to California for a short visit.

Fiona hasn’t seen her big sister Rachelle since she got married in March. And since we need to be in Wisconsin the first part of September for a short visit and to pick up school stuff for Fiona, then have a three-week house sitting gig in Minnesota and have just made arrangements to spend several months this winter in New Jersey, we thought we’d better go see some family in California before it’s a year since we saw any of them.

So tomorrow we leave Colorado, stay one night in the Salt Lake City, Utah area (we still need a place to stay there for one night by the way), another night in Reno Nevada with Couch Surfers, and we’ll be in Roseville California Saturday. Fiona gets to spend several days with Rachelle. After a few days there, we’ll head down to San Diego to visit with Joel’s brother and family.

Then there’s that Route 66 trip…