Last week we were blessed with a daughter and sister. Luella Rose is so sweet and is simultaneously taking up almost no time, and every second. She is a little nursing champ and is already getting chunkier and trying to hold up her tiny little head. We are cloth diapering again, and are shocked at how much she is pottying…I guess we forgot quickly what new babies are like!
The First Try
Years before we took the plunge and bought a van to live in, we started talking about it. Atfirst, I laughed at the idea! Who could live in a van?! After a while, the idea began to grow on us, at different rates, of course. I think it was me who decided we could put a camper on the back of our truck. We found a free one on Craigslist and picked it up. Hahaha. The poor thing was dilapidated, water logged, and twice as large as our truck could carry. So we bought new springs for the truck. We were living in a large three bedroom apartment and had way too much stuff. When moving day came, we loaded the camper on the truck, loaded the “essentials” into the camper, and promptly realized we weren’t going to be able to take the camper. So out and off it all came, and we put what we could in the back of the truck, the rest into storage, and moved across the state firmly convinced that small mobile living could not be done with two little ones ( a newborn and a two year old at the time)…this was something we would have to put off until we had no more little ones.
A couple of years later we found ourselves in a similar predicament, facing homelessness and wondering what we should do this time. I had learned a lot about living with less, and felt more emboldened in thinking we could possibly pull it off for a time. An online friend of mine that had lived in an RV with three young children helped me see that it COULD be done, and the need to get rid of our house spurred us on.
My husband this time was the leading force, driving the concept to fruition. Scared by some of the vehicles he was finding (haha) I drew a firm line. It had to be in good condition. Period. We ended up finding a kid who was willing to take on the debt we had left with the house, and trade straight across for a van. The van LOOKED pretty. It looked real pretty, and with no seats in it was spacious and roomy. By the time we loaded it up to leave, however…
It MIGHT have been a tiny bit tight. The picture below shows a good representation of what it was the majority of our time living in it. We had plastic drawers lined up all along one side, a “kitchen” area behind the seat in the back, and we slept very creatively. It was tight. I cried a lot. I was frustrated by not being able to stand, and we found out we were expecting a surprise baby about a week after moving in, so my hormones were on a lovely roller-coaster. The first three weeks our boys stayed with family…we were afraid not knowing if living like we were with children was legal or not. Finally we went into DHS and asked them. Guess what? It’s perfectly legal.
Our van looked nice, but there were issues. One of the problems we had was the van randomly dying when we were driving it.
One day we decided this was it. We needed something else. I prayed that the Lord would show me our new vehicle, and we found it. The Beast, on Craigslist…hours away and listed for $900. We talked them down to $700, cash. The boys were dropped off with family for the day and a good friend agreed to help us in exchange for money. It was like God opened the doors everywhere that day. We paid for a storage unit and ended up selling our van as it was to the managers of the units. We went and picked up the new van (HA! when we saw it we almost passed it up…it was SOOO dirty and gross) but of course we had to sleep somewhere! Sadly, I never got any pictures of it in the condition it was in. I thought this was the worst mistake we had made to date. After we got back and collected our children we went to an all-you-can-eat. On the way back to our new home, we could not stop laughing. The thing was ugly. Beyond ugly. The rest of the weekend was dedicated to cleaning it.
Third Time’s the Charm
Today, I am so happy, and know that of course, God was working in our lives very strongly that day. I love this van. It is shorter than our last one, but has an extended top on it and a cab over for little ones to sleep in. It has a fridge, an oven and stove, a sink with a 30 gallon water tank, and even a furnace. It needs a LOT of cosmetic work done, which is slow in coming, but the engine is great and has never caused us a single problem.
I don’t cry out of frustration anymore.
Van Dwelling/Tiny Living is a page for me to share all kinds of things I find about van dwelling and living small in the modern world! I just made it, so it may take a minute to get some content on there, but I wanted to share with you all. 🙂
There are a surprising number of people living out of their vehicles or converted vans. Some of them are in “stealth mode”, some are open and out there. Most seem to try to move around. Most are single people but there are a few couples and even some families (like mine!).
I don’t enjoy a lot of the blog/vlogs/ect just because of the attitude of some folks, I would rather not read depressing, defeatist attitudes…what we read and see we tend to be. That said, here are some of my very favorite blogs and one website for your pursuing pleasure. 🙂 A couple have some awesome practical tips, all have interesting things to read about, and in general, they tend to be updated fairly regularly ..which is not something all us mobile bloggers can claim. 🙂
If you are interested in some tiny house options…to drool or plan or shake your head in disdain, Check out Tiny House Living and I guarantee you will come away impressed by the sheer variety of tiny homes and the options available!
One thing I hate about cats is their smell. Normally, it seems like people (especially in my income bracket) who own a cat tend to SMELL like they own one. We have never had an indoor cat because of this, and always taught our kittens to “go” outside. I didn’t want to deal with the smell of a litterbox.
My four year old was broken-hearted when we found our big tomcat a new owner when we moved away, and he had been bugging us for a new cat ever since…it just never worked out. When we parked here, the people we are renting from had a big pregnant momma cat. It worked out so that we got to witness the birth, which is something Caelin has always wanted to see but not been able to, yet. On birthday, I checked kittens and guessed three were queens and one (a pretty orange) was a tom, and I talked to Scott about possibly getting one.
it has to be a queen, and she has to get spayed.
if it smells like a cat in here, she is gone.
and if I get this cat and follow the above rules, we get to keep her (that was my rule…I did NOT want to get attatched again to be asked to get rid of my pet)
And so I picked out Rue.
She’s almost six months old, now.
She’s crazy. She’s funny. She’s vicious.
We love her so much. And guess what?
I don’t smell a cat. 🙂 Her litter box is easy to maintain and has been the least of the issues we have had. She was badly hurt the day after this photo was taken, and I was scared she wouldn’t make it, afterwards she had a problem with using the litter box for a while. That’s resolved now and she is healthy and never misses her box.
She’s my baby buddy now. 🙂