Our fifth wheel is here! Picture post

On Thursday this week we took possession of our trailer!  

  

We put it in an RV park halfway between our current apartment and the land we are in a contract on. Here is our first look at the big guy!

  

I think we got one of the best spots in the park. This is the view out the front door. There’s a wooden patio, a spot for a grill, and a grassy area shaded by six huge crepe myrtles. 

  

Our king sized bed!

  

The sink has these awesome sink covers so that when you’re not using the sink, it becomes one large counter. I discovered the genius of this the first day. Love it. 

  

We were very glad to get a freestanding table and chairs. They’re cute too! Our couch is right next to the table. 

  

This was a surprise. We thought this area would be a bench with a bookshelf and small cupboard above. Instead we got a 50″ TV, an electric fireplace and four large cabinets. I think it’s really nice! We will probably pull out the fireplace (hello? It’s summer in Texas. A fireplace is 110% useless). 

  

Two adorable little helpers on the couch. 

  

This was another surprise! This is the girls’ room. We thought this area was a bunk on top and a sleeper sofa under. Instead there is a third bed below, which is totally perfect. Emily, who is two, can sleep here instead of us having to move her rather large toddler bed into the space and figure out what to do with an extra sofa. 

 

Plus, we took the extra mattress off the third bunk and put it on the bunk on the other side, which made it thick enough to attach the bed safety device. Now Ellie can sleep there safely! She LOVES her bunk, too. The child loves caves and tents so this enclosed area is making her little heart so happy. 

We were going to spend a night or two there and then go back to the apartment and pack some more. But once we were out there we decided to just start living there and not go back and forth. 

I love it. I love it a lot more than I thought I would. It’s well designed, but somewhat poorly/cheaply built, so Andrew is already fixing things and improving stuff. I can see us living there for a few years, no problem. 

It’s definitely hard to pare down our belongings, but I recently read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, and it’s absolutely living up to its title. Her premise is that everything in your home should make you happy, or spark joy. So, category by category, you go through every one of your belongings and discard everything that does not spark joy. I’ve done clothing, books, and most of the paper. And also the girls’ toys. That was IMMENSELY helpful! Our clothes fit in the tiny closet and tiny drawers. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get to my kitchen stuff, so I’m trying to go through it as I move, which is kinda stressful. But I’ll get it! 

Laser hair removal experience 

Words that describe me: hippie, urban farmer, low-maintenance. Not really the kind of person I would assume would want laser hair removal. But after my kids were born, having stubble on my legs triggered a strange overstimulated reaction. I was being touched like 90% of the time by my kids, and having irritating hair on my legs pushed my senses into overload. So I just quit shaving for like a year and a half. I didn’t love the way it looked but I hated the way stubble felt even more. 

I’d been eyeing laser hair removal on Groupon. One day when they were having a 30% off deal I jumped at it. I’ve had two lower leg treatments and I’m really happy so far. It takes about ten minutes per leg and, to me, doesn’t hurt any worse than professional waxing. But I’ve had two natural births so maybe my pain tolerance is on the high side. Here’s what my legs look like the day it’s done.  

  
I’m being very careful with sunscreen on my legs this summer as a result of the lasering. After a treatment the hair seems to grow a lot slower, and I think some of the hairs have stopped growing entirely. 

I’m pretty happy with my decision! Hopefully when all six treatments are done I won’t have to shave any more!  

Third time’s the charm?

Update to the last entry: The owner did choose our offer! When he returned the contract it left the mineral royalties in his family’s possession. We tried to negotiate that when he and his wife have passed away that the royalties would revert to us, but he was insistent that they remain in the family. Ok. That’s not a deal-breaker; I mean, it would have been nice, and it didn’t really hurt to ask. So our closing date is 6/22 and I’m praying so hard that this goes through!

In the meantime, our trailer is ready! I just spent an hour and a half on the phone insuring it. I hate the phone, btw! But it’s done! We are going to have it delivered next week to an RV park halfway between our current apartment and the property. Because the property is so very raw, it may take more than the two weeks we have between closing and the end of our apartment lease to get the septic installed and the well dug. So we might as well have the trailer delivered, get settled in it, and work on the land in a little less of a hurry.

Sometimes I just can’t even

We are still land-less, folks. This is getting frustrating. Last Friday (5/22) we were supposed to close on the Paradise property. On Tuesday we heard from our bank. The appraiser said the land was valued for $25,000 less than we offered. The bank would finance the lesser number, but not more. We asked the seller to come down. He wouldn’t budge a cent. So…we had to give up that land.

Then when looking at the next list of properties our realtor sent us, we realized that the property literally across the street was for sale. Across the street was one 84 acre plot, and one 47 acre plot that was mentioned in the listing as not on the market, but also available for sale. We went and saw them on Thursday. The owners were willing to split the 84 acres, which intrigued us, as 84 acres is too much for us. But the 47 acres was a good-looking piece of land. So we put an offer in on it Thursday evening. On Friday the seller’s realtor informed ours that the seller was out of town for Memorial Day weekend, and would get back to us on Tuesday. Well today they let us know that they got a second offer on Monday and are deciding between the two today. GAH! I just can’t even! What is going on here!?

Being Christians we believe that God has the best for us in mind, but also that Satan is our enemy and would like to steal, kill, and destroy everything good in the world. Thus I’ve been waffling between thinking that this property isn’t God’s best and that He’s keeping us from settling for something, and thinking that Satan is summoning some destructive forces against us to keep us from fulfilling our dream. I have no idea which is true. All I know is I’m waiting on tenterhooks to hear what happens with this acreage today.

Testing the land

In our contract on The Land, we have an option period. I don’t know if this is unique to Texas contracts, but for a certain price (ours was $150), the buyer gets a certain period of time (we asked for 10 days) wherein we can terminate the contract for any reason whatsoever. It’s a super nice feature of our contract. We can do whatever testing we want and visit the property as many times as we like in order to get the testing done. I mean, we can’t camp out there for a weekend, but we are allowed to take soil and water samples, dig some holes, test the fences, etc.

Here’s what’s important to us to test before we complete the option period.

Septic: This is hugely important. We are going to be far, far away from city services. The soil and land HAVE to be suitable for installing a septic system and leach field. Fortunately for us, The Land seems to have had people living on it in the recent past; there’s a disgusting old mobile home with water and electric nearby, and a 25×35′ concrete pad poured with water, electric, and some sort of septic system nearby. While we aren’t going to have a septic company come out and check the existing system for usability yet, we can be very confident that the land itself can handle our graywater and blackwater with the proper system installed.

Water: There is at least one well on the property; perhaps two. Andrew got water sample containers from North Texas Regional Laboratory. They do chemical and biological testing. There’s a very specific way to do all the testing and I’m sure he’s going to put up a YouTube vlog about it soon. He got the little jars, drove out to Paradise, got the water samples, put them on ice, and sped them back to Fort Worth all on the same day. And the testing came back clean! Yay! We have water!

Side note: I think our gasoline budget is about to skyrocket😉

Soil: This is not going to be as important to complete in the first 10 days of the escrow period, but I am going to want to send some soil in to Texas A&M’s soil testing service in order to know how best to amend the soil. I already dug a hole and found that it’s quite a bit sandier than the incredibly dense clay soil we have in Arlington, so that’s going to be awfully nice.

Animals: There’s about 20-30 cows on The Land. Since we’re planning an agricultural operation, but aren’t familiar (like, at all) with raising big animals, we’d like to keep these particular low-maintenance cows on the land. We’ve learned that they belong to a friend of the current owner, so we will try to work out a deal with the owner of the cows to keep them on the land – and, more importantly, to keep the land under agricultural use exemption when it comes to property taxes. Eventually I’d like my own, similarly-sized herd, but moving an hour away and living in a trailer and all the change that will happen when plunging into country life is going to be enough to handle without also suddenly raising large, expensive (and tasty) animals!

That’s all I can think of for now. So far The Land is passing all its tests with flying colors. Really all we’re waiting on is our lender to finish their homework on us and on The Land. We were pre-approved before we hired our Realtor so we aren’t super worried.

And I have to give a huge kudos to my husband. Andrew is doing MOST of the legwork and traveling that we need to be doing right now. He’s in contact with the lender and our Realtor, he’s driving out there to do testing, and he’s on the phone a lot (which I HATE). I love him!

Contract executed!!!

Wow! Words are hard to come by on this fabulous day.

We have an executed contract on 46 acres of land in Paradise, Texas! I am SO excited! All the crap we have been through since October of 2013 has composted into some beautiful fertilizer. Our dreams are not dead; they are alive and well!

It just so happened that Andrew got word about the contract from our Realtor when I was at our church’s women’s conference. Even though I was attending with my sister-in-law, mother-in-law, and grandmother-in-law, I’d chosen to have lunch alone because I’m an introvert and needed some recharge time. Thus, when Andrew told me, I didn’t have anyone around to immediately share the news with. Even though I’m an introvert, I still have to tell SOMEONE when something momentous happens! Anyway, I was just walking around the church with this huge grin on my face, tearing up a little, soaking in the news.

Then I went back to my seat and found a bright pink envelope on it. Our church does this really cool thing for the women’s conference; they have a team of women who pray and read the Bible and write down short notes of encouragement. I believe they are all unique, and we had 4,000 women attending this conference. They seal them and put them on the chairs, asking the Lord to get the right note to the right person. They can be pretty generic, but sometimes they’re oddly specific. When I got to my chair and found mine, I wondered if I should open it right away, and I heard the Holy Spirit say “open it! open it!” I did. Here’s what I read.

I’m not someone who’s prone to cry a lot, but this sent me right from smiling and some tears to full-out laughing/crying so hard the lady a few seats over asked if I needed a hug. If I needed confirmation that we were doing the right thing, I GOT IT. This note is gonna be framed and hung in the trailer. God is SO GOOD.

(And we are scheduled to close on or around May 22!)