February 17, 2013

The Big Plan

Brian and I like to play around with ideas.  Sometimes big ideas.  Like living in New York City.  Or raising 3 kids in New York City.  Or starting a business.  Or traveling for a month on a super cool JetBlue pass.  You know, the crazy, potentially life changing, kind of ideas.

We had always hoped and planned on taking a sabbatical from work and our everyday life.  Brian was in the process of changing jobs and with much research, thought, and prayer we knew we had the opportunity to travel as a family.  We also knew these opportunities don't come very often, so we decided to dive in and just do it!  With much planning and working late into the night we were able to budget, organize and accomplish what was needed to make this trip happen.  From subletting our apartment to homeschooling Isabella.  It wasn't easy.  We had about a month between when we decided to go for it and when we left.  That's not much time to plan a 3+ month adventure for a family of five.  But we are doing it.  It is working and we are enjoying it.

Originally we had planned to do the entire USA in 3 months.  But after much discussion and contemplation Brian and I decided we wanted to travel slowly and thought it best if we only committed to the southeast states.  That way we could take our time and enjoy the journey as much as possible.

We are planning on driving through (or briefly into) 19 states and exploring 6 national parks.  Since we are taking our time we hope to really get to know the South and experience it; not just as tourists.

A few factors are making this trip possible for us right now:
  • Brian was in the process of changing jobs, so it was a good time to take a break from work
  • We have a good amount of savings in the bank
  • Our landlord was willing to let us sublet our apartment
  • Isabella is easily homeschooled
  • Brian's sister works for Sheraton and we are able to get a good discount on hotels (as availability permits)

I found some very fun family travel blogs while researching for ours.  Many have inspired us and really pushed us in this direction.  Here are some of my favorites:

The Great Family Escape (My absolute fave!  They just started a similar journey in Jan.)
Discover Share Inspire
Married with Luggage
Renaissance Housewife
Family on Bikes
Vagabond Family.org
Vagabond Family.blogspot

February 10, 2013


We are nomads.

nomad \ˈnō-ˌmad\
1. A member of a group of people who have no fixed home and move according to the seasons from place to place in search good grazing land.
2. A person with no fixed residence who roams about; a wanderer.

Driving from Georgia to Florida
 Two months ago we renewed our lease for our apartment.  Once December 1st rolled around and we were still living here it was a bit monumental: this apartment became our longest lived in residence.  We just passed the 2 year mark.  In 10 years of marriage we have lived in 8 different homes.  That doesn’t even include the 2 furnished apartments we sublet during our first few months in New York.  Come to think of it, neither of us have lived anywhere this long since we left home to go to college.  Actually, my family moved a few times when I was teenager, so I’ve been moving around since I was 15!  That means Brian and I have been living a nomadic lifestyle for the last 20 years.  We are often looking forward to what is next; what will fit our needs best.  And usually, with each move, we tell ourselves, “Let’s try this just for a year.”  That’s how this whole living in NYC business started 8 years ago.

We were living in Pittsburgh at the time and were at a crossroads.  Our lives were ours and we were ready to take on an adventure.  During our last year in Pittsburgh we would frequently have discussions that would go something like this:

“What should we do after Pittsburgh?”
“Wouldn’t it be fun to live in NYC for a year or two?!”
“We’ll go to NYC for a year, have some fun and figure out what we will do next.”
“Yeah, before we have kids.  There’s no way I’m having kids in NYC.  Then after NYC we can settle down and start a family.”
“Awesome,  Let’s do it!”

Eight years and 3 babies later and we are still here.  We are still trying to figure out what we will do next.  We are still loving the adventure of living in NYC, for “just one more year”.  For the record, a lot of families we know (some with 6-7 kids!) came to NYC with the same mindset: go to NYC for a few years for school, or work, and then move out and start a family.

The question is, where does one go after NYC?!  After living here (the greatest city in the world), the idea of moving to suburbia doesn't feel like a lifestyle we will be able to embrace.  

Yes, I regularly dream of a home where our daily rhythm can flow from outside to inside as needed and of carefree summer evenings, playing with the kids on a cool green lawn until it’s time to tuck them into bed.  I long to be able to step outside my door and take a deep breath of quiet, fresh air.  I hope to grow a large, delicious garden someday. I still believe that time will come. I was born a country girl after all.

Brian and I frequently discuss, and plan, on finding a place that we can call home for more than 2+ years.  A slower, possibly simpler, lifestyle is appealing during this season of bearing, raising, and growing our sweet little ones.  We have been searching for some deep, rich soil in which to bury our roots.  But we have not found that fertile ground yet.  Until we find it we will continue to move, to be nomadic, in our own, modern way.  We will continue to search for what is best for our family at each time and season in our lives.  Because, so far, with each move, the grass under our feet becomes greener and our lives are more rich because of it.

February 9, 2013

Winter Wonderland

We loved having some snow finally fall and stick here in the city.  It's been 2 years since we've had a good snowfall here.

Isabella was up and in her snow clothes before breakfast.  (I really look forward to when the boys are big enough to get into their own snow clothes.)  It's nice having our apartment door open right outside.  She was able to play in front of our building (right outside our windows and door) while we stayed cozy inside making pancakes ("pampakes" in Oliver-eez).

It took us a while before we all got into our winter clothes and headed out to play in the snow.  Once we did we had a blast walking around Central Park and sliding down the icy paths in the Ramble.

oh the joy of a sassy six year old

sweet sweet boy!
my daughter is a penguin
the paths were so icy the kids could slide down on their bums

the lake was so beautiful
At one point Isabella was doing a whole one-gal slap stick comedy show for Oliver (lots of exaggerated slipping and crashing into things).  He was laughing hysterically.  In between breaths he gasped, sighed and quietly said, "She's so funny."  It was my favorite moment of an awesome day.

Our beautiful street was even more amazing this morning.

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