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Tiny Living: One Month In

Here are my favorite moments of tiny living, one month in. We are newbies to this “Fulltime RV” lifestyle, and we have a lot to learn. Really, we are “fulltime Campers” because we live in a travel trailer, but in the tiny community everyone says RV regardless of the actual tiny species your home falls into. I feel it is necessary to let you know (that I know) we do not have an RV, even if I refer to us as Fulltime Rvers.

First Night in the Camper

We left Maine on a Monday, arrived in Georgia Tuesday, and slept in our camper for the first time that same Friday. The day our home was delivered Jake and I said, “Lets sleep in it tonight, but wait until after we paint the interior to move all of our stuff in...". Famous last words, because we were moving our belongings into the camper the very next day. And here we are, four weeks later with an unpainted camper, and all of our stuff inside. We still plan on painting. We (and by "we" I mean Jake, because he does not approve of my painting skills) will have to move everything.

Anyways, the first night sleeping in our camper is up there with the kid’s births, as one of the best days of my life. To the people around us this lifestyle change may have seemed drastic and fast. However, to Jake and I, the timeline has been painstakingly slow. We have been planning, dreaming, saving, and secretly plotting, for years. To be honest, it has been an emotional roller coaster. Especially the weeks leading up to our departure from Maine. The weeks after Jake quit his Job, and before we bought a camper were beyond stressful. It is hard not to question your choices while making such a large decision for yourself, your partner, and your children.

Was this crazy, like everyone has been telling us?

Who quits their secure position during a global pandemic?

Are we doing the right thing?

Is this irresponsible?

As much as I tried to reel back in my worry, I was an anxious mess.

But the first night in our camper… I slept like a baby.

Halloween 2020

October 31st was wildly different this year. Rather than go trick or treating during a pandemic, and in a new neighborhood, we decided to have a household ghost gathering complete with an outdoor candy hunt.

Meet my father, Gonzo.

Wash your hands, guys. Do not let the Covid ghost get you.

Slow Down and Snuggle

For most of my life I have applauded myself for being busy, and in the same breath I always wondered why I was constantly burnt out. I spent my days at home with our three young children going in circles. Preparing meals, academic lessons, and cleaning. Round and round I went.

Now, It takes me an hour to clean our home. Top to bottom.

One hour.

Less room, and less stuff to clean, and less stuff to clean around, means more time. More time for me. More time for Saylor, Hendrix, and Ember. It also means less time arguing about stuff. Where it goes, who it belongs to, who will pick it up, etc.

Of course, the kids still fight. The sky will cave in if Hendrix’s scoop of ice cream has two more chunks of cookie dough than Saylor’s scoop. Our kids are still kids of course, but we have noticed that limiting the number of toys each hooligan, I mean child, keeps inside our home (and having a designated spot for these toys) eliminates most 'stuff related' arguments. Less sorting, cleaning, and arguing over stuff means more snuggles, and more down time. More time together, or in this very moment more time alone, to write.

As I type, I have a toddler napping, an eight-year-old on her bunk behind me reading, and my five-year-old at my feet watching Ryan’s World. If this was nap time during my life a month ago, I would be still cleaning up my kitchen from lunch and picking up toys from morning play. By the time I wiped down all the surfaces and cleaned up all the crumbs, maybe picked up the yard, get sidetracked by some half-finished side project nap time would be over.

But here I am now, in a clean home, typing away. It is wild. Every day that I write (blog post or journal) and read, my soul blooms a little more. I spent my twenties trying to make the world fall in love (or at least approve) of who I was and what I was doing. It is appropriate to start my thirty first trip around the sun falling in love with the life my husband and I have worked hard for.

If this pandemic and parenthood have taught me anything it is that life is short. Childhood is short. Our lives are happening now. My children will never be this small again, and I am not getting any younger, which brings me to my next observation: It has been a strange personal adjustment transforming the shame I feel about slowing down into joy. You read that right. Being able to put my feet up and read a book makes me feel guilty. If there is something on my to do list, I feel like I should be doing that something, instead of relaxing. When you are a mother of three the to do list is never done. However, when you live in 250 square feet that to-do list naturally becomes a lot smaller, and the guilt to take care of everything around you subsides with it.

I probably sound like a crazy person; I am fine with that. Instead of applauding myself for being overwhelmed and stressed, I am learning to take pride in the calm we have created. A life that prioritizes our mental health and together time.

Douglas and the Door

If you do not know what happened to our Camper door, ask Douglas (our dog). Jake and I were at Verizon, so the doggy cam did not catch any of the action. For that I am grateful, because I don’t think my heart could take watching Douglas chew through our front door.


Styrofoam was everywhere.

We pulled in, and Douglas was sitting OUTSIDE in front of the camper waiting for us. We could see the layer of Styrofoam snow from the road as we pulled in. I do not know how to put that gut wrenching feeling into words, but I think every dog owner can relate. I laughed, so I did not cry.

Why is this experience on my list of fond camper moments? The aftermath of the Douglas door fiasco was pretty fulfilling. I got to see my husband’s woodworking and problem-solving skills jump to life. I have realized Jake works well under pressure. Also, I got to witness my husband and my father work side by side on this impromptu project. Jake and Gonzo worked on the new door that entire night, and hung it together around one am.

Peep my new maple front door! Thanks Douglas!

Get yourself a handy man, ladies.

How do I get Doug to go through the back door?

Mama wants matching maple doors.

Cooking in the Chaos.

One would think I hate cooking in a tiny kitchen. Less counter space and all that jazz. And yes, cooking in a small space is challenging. I will not deny that fact. However, I am finding my groove! I successfully cooked our Turkey Day sides without a mental breakdown. Apparently, I enjoy cooking in the chaos. In our last home, I had my back to the action. I always felt excluded, even if people were in the same room. In our tiny home, I am always smack in the middle of whatever is happening. The kids are also more involved with our meals now that they see more of the process.

Outside Time

I have Maine Kids. What does that mean? It means that outdoor play weather is anything above 20 degrees.

Living in a camper means that its always outdoor weather. We are not living in 250 square feet. We are sacrificing our indoor living space so we can have different outdoor space and experiences.

We eat outside.

We do schoolwork outside.

We read outside.

We live outside.

The only time all five of us are in the camper are when it is downpouring, some mealtimes, and bedtime. Some evenings we watch TV, some evenings we have a campfire.

The rocks here are different than Maine. The dirt is more clay like and has a red tint. The pinecones are prickly, and different grasses and trees grow. The kids have a blast exploring their new back yard.

We attempted our first hike last week, but the trail was closed because of Covid. It was a trailhead near Atlanta. We hope the trails in the northern Georgia are open. We will find out this weekend! I'm looking forward to all the trails we will explore before we head to Colorado in February. The birds, bugs, and trees will all be different in Colorado too! I cannot wait to see the sparkle in their eyes as they discover the magic of new land again. I understand their giddiness. I too get butterflies seeing new sights.

Initially, I planned on including my hardest adjustments with tiny living in this post, but this is a blog not a novel, so until next week...

Happy Thanksgiving.

I am grateful for every single person reading this.

I appreciate you.

P.S. Doug has not been voted off the island, yet.

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