house tour

 I've been wanting to post pictures of our new life here in Minnesota, but we couldn't find the camera cord to transfer pictures from camera to computer. Phil found it yesterday!!!

We're loving our new life here. It's C-O-L-D, but we manage to stay toasty warm inside the house. The nice thing about living in a newer home is that it's well insulated. We have our thermostat set at 60 degrees and feel very comfortable.

We've been here 2 weeks and have already done lots of exploring in the area. Phil starts work Monday. We've enjoyed having him home to help us get settled into the house. Phil and I got our Minnesota driver's licenses and our cars registered yesterday, and we've already checked books out of the library twice. We're certainly feeling at home here.

Here are a few pictures of around the house...

 In the dining room. This old dresser is home to my tea stash, stationery and office supplies. The kitchen is to the left with a powder room down the hall. There's a door across the hall from the powder room that leads down a flight of stairs to a heated garage.
 Here's our view from the living room window.

 This is just inside the front door. The stairs that lead to the second floor are to the right of the bookshelf.

 One of the things I love about moving is a chance to start over and reorganize my life. :) Here's my little coffee drawer.

and here's my fun little stash of tea

Looking into the kids' bedrooms from the upstairs hallway/landing

 Children's books in the upstairs hallway

 I made the upstairs linen closet my homeschool storage closet

 The boys' room

 Their wonderful Lego table

The girls' sweet little room


little townhouse on the prairie

We made it! We made it! Around 10:00 tonight we pulled into the driveway of our new home. We were all so excited to go in and look around for the first time. Phil drove our stuff out last week, but the kids and I had only seen pictures online. We decided to rent a townhouse for awhile, just so we can get used to the area. As we drove across the plains of South Dakota today, it felt strange to leave my "homesteading" life behind me and move onto townhouse living on the prairie.

As we drove along the Interstate, I was very aware that we would be 50 miles from The Ingalls' Homestead in DeSmet, SD. I dared not ask the family to stop and indulge me after a very long 3-day drive. But Phil surprised me and pulled off the Interstate and onto the highway that led north to DeSmet. I buried my face into my hands and cried for a bit, then called my mom and left her a most pathetic message. This was truly one of the best days of my life.

We turned off the highway onto the road that led up to the homestead and saw that it was a dirt road mostly covered with patches of snow. As we started up the little hill, our car got stuck in a snow drift  right there in front of the homestead. We tried all sorts of things, but nothing worked. I found a phone number and ended up getting 6 tow truck companies' phone numbers, but they were all too far out of the area. Our insurance company couldn't help us because we were on a dirt road. So Phil did what any other awesome husband would do. He took off down the highway in search for help. The kids and I stayed in the car to keep warm, but I LOVED this! I was stranded in the snow in front of the Ingalls' Homestead. It was like a dream come true. I mean, who can say this? I've never been stranded in the snow, but what better place than the setting of The Long Winter? I got to look out at Laura's beautiful snow-covered prairie for over an hour. I stared in amazement at the 5 cottonwood trees that Pa planted, one for each member of the family. Our neighbors in Spokane gave us their DVD player for the car and I pulled it out for the girls to watch episodes of Little House on the Prairie. I could hear the Little House theme song playing in the backseat as I sat there and watched this beautiful scene unfold. Oh bliss!

Phil finally came back with a man in a big truck and a long chain. I got out of the car and said, "I'm so, so sorry. I just really love Laura Ingalls, and my husband really loves me." By then he was under our car trying to hook the chain on and I heard him say, "Oh the things we do for love."

We finally got to drive through the town of DeSmet and I told my girls to stop their movie and look out the window. I wanted to show them Ma and Pa's house in town. They just said, "We know, Mom. We're watching it on T.V." I was horrified!

I was able to find several important landmarks -- the house in town, the site of Pa's building in town and the Surveyor's house -- all without a map! This is why I love Laura Ingalls' books. They're so descriptive. I saw the whole town laid out in my mind and could zip around like I lived there.

On a side note, did you know that Carrie Ingalls, Laura's sister, was married to the man who named Mt. Rushmore? I was shocked! I wish I would have known this when we were up there yesterday.

All in all, we had a wonderful day. Especially me! We love our new house and we're so excited to explore the area.


almost home

We're having such a wonderful trip! The kids are little troopers. We spent 11 hours in the car today and managed to have only a few squabbles. I think I only did the whole panicky passenger seat driver thing twice. Yeah me! It's what I do while passing a semi in the snow at 70 mph with 50 mph gusts of wind.

We've seen beautiful mountains, plateaus and rock formations, lots of cattle, coyotes, antelope and buffalo along the way.

Phil did an awesome job picking hotels for this trip. Last night we stayed just outside of Salt Lake City, UT, in Park City, where the 2002 Winter Olympics were held. We loved seeing the Olympic Village. We drove through windy, snowy Wyoming allllllll daaaaaaaay lonnnnnnng. But honestly, it wasn't as brutal as yesterday driving through Nevada. Yawn.

The highlight of today was driving up to Mt. Rushmore. We got there right at dusk, but they left the light on for us. :) I squealed and clapped when I saw it. It was more beautiful than I had imagined.

Here are a few things I've observed on our trip...

America is beautiful
My kids are great travelers
Phil is a good driver
My little family is so resilient and loves a good adventure
I could never be a truck driver - sitting in a car for two long days has not been good for my figure, and I'm already sick of truck stop snack food
Snow makes everything beautiful

One more day and we're home!



New house
New job
New state
New adventure

We are certainly starting this year off with all things new. We drove away from our home in Medford, Oregon, last Sunday morning. With lots of help from family and good friends who came over and brought meals and treats, and who helped us finish up projects on the house, paint, pack, load up the moving truck and then clean until 1:00 am, we felt very blessed and loved.

Phil left last Sunday morning with the U-Haul and drove north to pick up a friend in Spokane, WA, to help him with the move and long drive. The kids and I drove south to California to stay with family for the week.

The kids and I drove to Sacramento tonight to meet up with Phil. (Thank you, Target, for selling swim suits in the middle of January - my kids really love to swim in hotel pools and we were swim suit-less). We've had such a fun day. We checked into the hotel, jumped on the beds, went out for Mexican food, headed back to the hotel for a swim, then ate microwave popcorn and watched House Hunters on HGTV. Phil will fly in late tonight and meet us here at the hotel, then we'll leave early in the morning for our 3-day trek to Minnesota. We have 3 very long days of driving ahead of us, but after a week of being apart and a crazy week of packing and moving before that, we're so excited to be together again as a family. I'm looking forward to lots of time in the car with my Phil - Starbucks in one hand and his hand in the other - the very best way to travel!