Our next adventure.

Living in the Airstream changed us as individuals and as a family. More than anything, we cherish the togetherness it brought. While out on the road we started dreaming outside the box together. And let me tell you, my husband did not used to be a dreamer. Before we started traveling he was the rational kind of guy who was content settling for what others expected of him and for what was easy. As our days went by in the airstream I saw him come to life. He started reading self growth books, talking about learning Chinese, building a house and traveling the world. Me, being a born dreamer, fell madly in love with this new side of him and he all the sudden understood me in a whole new way. Our love for one another grew bigger than I ever knew possible.

Our favorite days in the Airstream were the ones camped out on BLM land, all by ourselves, in the middle of nowhere. The kids made tepees with sticks, ran around for hours, went on pretend adventures with fairies and we all went to sleep at night with a new found peace in our hearts. This is when it hit us we were meant to be in the wild. To have our own space that allows us to be us. Space that allows our kids to be best friends with each other and grow into their very own selves. Space where we can surround ourselves with like minded people who make us better. We are not anti-social by any means, we just fell in love with the space that allowed us the ability to control our time and relationships.

We came up with the idea of building a 1000 sq foot house (which after our 180 sq feet will feel like a mansion!) on a big piece of property. As we traveled around it became a fun nightly ritual to look at Zillow and see what the surrounding market was like. We weren't certain where we wanted to build but we figured this dream was many years out and when the time and place came we would know it in our hearts.

When we got a surprise call from our neighbor 8 weeks ago asking if he could buy our house it hit us fast and hard that our dream might come true sooner than we thought. Around this same time we found out I was pregnant so we planned to go back to Bozeman to schedule a closing date on our house and make a birth plan with our beloved Birth Center. The second we pulled into town our hearts all melted. In all the amazing places we traveled it felt very clear at that moment that the town we had called home before our travels was still very much our home. Bozeman is our home.

Over a two week period we met with the Birth Center, met with our neighbor and signed a bill of sale on our house. Ty met with an architect and we looked at a few pieces of property but nothing felt right.

After two slammed weeks we got antsy to travel more so we hit the road. We were traveling in Vancouver BC when Ty saw a new property pop up on Zillow. I told him it was THE place for us and I wanted to go home. Being the rational one, he said no and it would be there when we got back if it was meant to be. In the meantime I dropped the idea. We found our darling apartment and were liking the idea of having it as our simple part time home so we could also travel part time. Because that is our ultimate goal, be home in Bozeman for half the year and travel the other half. Anyway, when we finished our northern travels we went home to the apartment and forgot about our dream of wild living, at least for a few nights.

On Friday, July 22nd we made plans to spend the day at my dads. He lives in Livingston (25 miles east of Bozeman) and we decided to drive the back way home. You know, just to drive past the property. It was the last one on our list before we really put the whole "wild living" idea on the back burner until at least after the baby arrives. When we got there we couldn't believe it. Without a doubt and to both of our surprise, we knew at first glance this was our place.

This is the main house and one of the guest cabins. Both built in 2006.  

This is the main house and one of the guest cabins. Both built in 2006.  

We hadn't even looked at another home, we didn't think what we wanted existed. Up to this point we had only looked at property. But here is was. A 1000 sq foot main house on 10 acres with two guest cabins, a private bridge and a river. The best part, it was in our budget! There were clearly people living in the house so we didn't get a close look but Ty called our realtor right away. We spent the weekend lost in dreams. On Sunday, Ty came to me with a terribly sad look on his face and said "babe, I don't know what is wrong but I feel depressed all the sudden". I knew exactly what was wrong because this happens to me all the time. My mind spends way too much time obsessing and dreaming that I emotionally crash in exhaustion.

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On Monday we went to the property with our realtor. By Tuesday we were under contract with financing all lined up and a tentative closing date of September 16th. We had the inspection done a week later and after lots of negotiating back and forth with the sellers we just signed our final contract. The final one saying this purchase is real.

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So! It looks like our next adventure is about to begin! We can't wait to make this place our home and to bring our third child home to it. The kids are beyond excited and have been busy planning pump tracks, swing sets and tubing adventures.

This adorable creek runs right through the property. It is plenty big for floating on a tube or stand up paddle board.  

This adorable creek runs right through the property. It is plenty big for floating on a tube or stand up paddle board.  

The property is 23 miles from downtown Bozeman, 16 miles from Livingston, 7 miles from the Yellowstone River, 12 miles from my all time favorite hot spring and 45 miles from Yellowstone National Park. We couldn't have dreamed up this place. And can't wait to share it with all our friends and family.

Each guest cabin has its own little compostable outhouse. I think it is one of the cutest parts! 

Each guest cabin has its own little compostable outhouse. I think it is one of the cutest parts! 

Home in the heart.

I didn't know it at the time but moving to Bozeman was a huge part in the progression of finding happiness and contentment. Growing up in a big suburb of Salt Lake City left my body humming each night with the cities energy. Not in a bad way, but in a always feeling rushed and busy kind of way. Our energy slowed with the quiet peacefulness of Bozeman. Every part of life felt slower and more our natural speed. For the first time in our lives we were actually able to hear our hearts speak.

While we didn't particularly care for the bitter cold winters, Bozeman became the home of our hearts. The home that taught us comfort in simplicity. The home that provided us with enough courage to finally become ourselves. The home that birthed our two children in the depths of warm water. And the home that gave us a new perspective on life. 

Because of the huge impact Bozeman had on our hearts, we are here. Here, living our very own crazy life in a little Airstream on the edge of a cliff. Even in our travels though, Bozeman remains at the center of our hearts. It is more to us than a small town in Montana. It is the place in our hearts where we became us.

We are so proud to tell people we are from Bozeman. For we don't have a single bad thing to say about the town. Which goes to say a lot about how much ones experiences form their perspectives. Just like everywhere else on earth, Bozeman certainly isn't perfect. But in our hearts it is as close as perfect gets.

People often ask us if we will return to Bozeman, we wonder that ourselves. The honest answer is that we don't know. We know that Bozeman is the home of our hearts but we don't know for certain if it is the home of our future. 

Being out here, completely on our own, has only furthered our desire to live a slow paced life. We fear that even slow town Bozeman is too fast paced for us now. Our newest thoughts are that instead of being our home, Bozeman might have just been the warm, nutrient dense soil that we needed to grow from little seeds into the wild flowers that we were always meant to become. 

Our future is unknown. And we are okay with that. Whether Bozeman is our future home or not doesn't really matter. We are just grateful for the meaning it has in our hearts and for the freedom to follow whichever backroad may call to us next. 

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our Easter.

Today we celebrated Easter, just as many of you did. We walked from our airstream over a few rolling green hills towards a magical children's garden I stumbled upon earlier on a solo hike.

We explained to Luna and Aki the religious significance to this holiday. We explained how in some religions it is believed that Jesus came back to life on this day, many years ago. We then went on to explain that even though we are not apart of any single religion and we have different beliefs, we are part of a culture that celebrates many holidays. Most of which are based around religion. It is our take that the core of most religion is around the teaching of being a good person. We celebrate these holidays because we believe that it doesn't matter what religion or path a person follows, as long as they have a conscious and lead a moral life they are worth celebrating. 

This is the way we celebrate and participate in traditional holidays in our own non traditional kind of way.  

At the children's garden I hid a few eggs. Fourteen to be exact. Seven for each of our two kids. It was magical. Like a romantic day I have been dreaming about my entire life. The four of us in a lush, green, ribbon filled, teepee scattered and wooded garden. 

I am grateful for this life. For the goodness in people and for the love in my family.  

Happy Easter. Whatever that may mean to you. 

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What you don't see on Instagram. Chronic diarrhea.

Social media allows people to choose what they want to share. There are no obligations. You can share a little or you can share a lot. You can paint a picture or make up a story. We choose to share our honest raw selves. We aren't afraid to talk about hard days or share our faults. We want to do that because we want to grow. For us, this blog and our Instagram feed is a place for us to be us. Part of this lifestyle we are living is being open with the world. And more importantly being open with ourselves. 

Lately I have felt this odd sense of betrayal. Betrayal to our commitment of always being real. This has not been a deliberate betrayal. We just find ourselves wanting to enjoy the happy moments. Those beautiful moments are so easy to share. It feels natural to post pictures of the beautiful places we are traveling or the funny things our kids say. It feels like we are complaining if we talk about bad days or hard times. 

But the truth is I, the mother of a sick child, have been entirely consumed in trying to find him comfort and health. I enjoy the places we go and the people we meet. But not in the same way I did a few months ago. Part of my mind is always on Akis health and I don't know how to be fully present. 

It all started when Aki was 3 months old. He was covered head to toe with such bad eczema he was literally ripping his skin off. He was covered in bloody scratches. He would projectile vomit several times a day and thrash his legs at night, unable to sleep. We met with his pediatrician who said "some babies just do that" and prescribed a steroid cream and sent us on our way. Are you kidding? A steroid cream for my 3 month old???? No thank you! I knew that something was definitely not right. I knew I could find something that was causing him all this discomfort and felt it in my heart that I shouldnt just mask the symptoms with a steroid cream. I ripped that prescription up and met with lactation consultants, tried elimination diets and finally landed at an allergists office. 

My baby was little. He had never consumed a single bite of solid foods. Whatever he might be allergic to would be things he was getting through my milk. The allergist was completely shocked when he tested positive for almonds, peanuts, cashews and eggs. Our whole family cut all his allergens out right away. His symptoms seemed to lessen but they never fully went away. They would flare up at least once a month but I always figured we must have had an accidental nut encounter. Even though we were so damn careful. Well reflecting back, I'm pretty sure most of those flare ups actually weren't due to a possible nut encounter at all. Something else entirely has been going on in our little guys body. Back to that thought in a minute. 

He was retested at the allergists when he was 19 months old. All the tests came back negative! The allergist was even more shocked this time. He had never seen someone grow out of nut allergies that fast. We were all so relieved and went on about our regular old vegan diet with nuts! Those nuts tasted soooo good! Aki went wild for almond and peanut "butters". 

A few months went by with us consuming nuts and all his symptoms were back in full force. But this is where my memory is blurry. I can't pinpoint when his poop changed so dramatically or when his night sleep turned to shit, naps went out the window and his eczema returned. Because you see, none of this really went completely away when we took the nuts away. It was all always kind of there. It never crossed my mind that something else might be wrong. I always figured we had eaten an accidental nut somehow.

The morning after Christmas it hit me like a ton of bricks. Aki had been up nursing and crying all night long. He was nursing like an infant at this point. I was so sleep deprived and grumpy. I remember still thinking that it was just the nuts. I marched out of bed to tell Ty we were kicking nuts in the ass again and going completely nut free. So we did. We stopped eating nuts again. But the symptoms have not subsided. Aki has 2-3 really sour smelling loose poops a day. They consist of all undigested foods. His eczema isn't as bad as it was when he was little but it isn't as smooth as it should be. He can't sleep at night because his tummy is so uncomfortable. He has a hard time napping and his mood is progressively going down hill.  

I called his allergist. He said it sounds like Aki never had any allergies to begin with and that something else is causing inflammation in his gut. Which in turn caused false allergy readings. What??? Now what???  

I started asking around. Everyone I talked to said it must be celiac disease. We had his blood drawn and the celiac test came back negative. His doctor said "everything looks normal so he is good to go!". Bullshit! Just because the few tests she ran look normal it means there is nothing wrong? If you took one look at his poop you would know something is seriously wrong. Don't worry, I sent a picture of his poop to a nurse friend just to verify that I wasn't imagining all this. She agreed.  

All of this takes so much time. The testing, the waiting, the consuming, the no sleep. It all takes so freaking long. And we are tired. My baby is moody. We are in a little airstream trailer and there is no where to hide. I can't hide my stress or my bad mood. When Aki poops it smells the entire house up within minutes. It's a horrible cycle. No sleep at night, wake up early, grumpy Aki, sensitive Lu, no naps, crazy sour poops, stressed out me, bed early because we are all so freaking tired. But the cycle starts again with hourly wake ups. 

I have exhausted Google. There are so many things it "could be". I have been told the next step is to find a gastroenterologist. But I want to try everything I can and not put all my eggs into one basket. I have not been satisfied with the lack of concern or care by the western medical doctors. I got the idea to find an Ayurvedic Doctor. Someone who didn't care about what was wrong with my baby but cared about healing him. I found a doctor. He is the author of a well know Ayurvedic book. I guess I didn't really know what I was getting into. I expected he would gather all the information about Aki and our family and then we would schedule a Skype appointment or something. So when he suggested we do a 30 minute consultation I happily agreed. Assuming that those 30 minutes would be used for him to gather the information. Well, it turns out that those 30 minutes was all I got. It cost us $150 and the guy suggested a good probiotic. Thanks sir. Of course I already give my baby a strong probiotic. He is suffering from digestive inflammation for crying out loud. Anyway, I hung up from that conversation feeling completely defeated. 

It is against my nature to just sit back and do nothing. So I have decided to try elimination diets again. Today is our sixth day of being gluten, oat, soy and corn free. In addition to our already vegan and nut free diet. We are eating a lot of rice, quinoa, lentils, coconut (oil and milk), split mung beans, fruits and veggies. Akis skin is smoother than it has possibly ever been. His sleep has improved tremendously. Are you ready for this??!!! He is only waking up once or twice a night! His poop is still on the loose side but doesn't smell quite as sour and the food seems to be more digested. Our meals have looked something like this:

  • Smoothie bowls for breakfast with kale, berries, sunflower butter and rice milk with banana, honey coconut, pumpkin, hemp, flax and chia seeds on top.
  • fruits and veggies for snacks
  • brown rice noodles for lunch with nutritional yeast
  • coconut yogurt and fruit for snacks
  • basmati rice or quinoa with mung beans for dinner.  
  • Everything organic.  

We have always been big oatmeal eaters. I think oats are what we miss the most so far. So ysterday I found an alternative and made a millet porridge for breakfast. Last night Aki had two huge super sour, undigested poops. He had four more sour poops today. Could it possibly be grains??? Your guess is as good as mine. 

This is basically one super long post about the struggle we are having that is truthfully consuming most of my energy. I don't know how to let it go or how not think about it. I sometimes get excited because I think I see progress and then I have to explain to my sweet 2 year old that he can't wear his favorite shorts because they are drenched in diarrhea. As he cries about his shorts I cry too. I feel scared for his health.  

As I type this I am realizing why we haven't shared any of this. It's because it takes up energy that we don't have. But I know with time we will figure it out. We will keep moving forward and trying new things until we get there. Part of me misses Bozeman and longs for the comfort of home. But the other part of me feels grateful to be out here where I can follow my heart. My heart is currently invested in the health of my baby and I hear my heart speaking to me so much clearer when I am away from the madness of day to day stationary life. I am grateful for our small space. I love that I can't hide. We are all forced to deal with our emotions right here and now. No hiding or stuffing. 

We will continue with this current diet for next two weeks. Which I imagine will fly by as we are hopping on a plane for Hawaii first thing tomorrow morning! We are renting a house with our best friends. We will try doing body talk and reiki. And see where this wild ride take us!  

Phew! It sure feels good to have that out in the open. 

 

 

Cliches

In AA people are constantly using different cliches. The proplem I have always had with cliches is that they are stupid, and usually stupid people use them. However, and unfortunately, the reason sayings become cliches is that they are overused for a reason, they have some truth to them. I won't go through all the painfully ridiculous cliches but "keep it simple, stupid" fits the bill. It manages to say something important and make you feel bad at the same time, a feeling most alcoholics live off of. 

The reason I'm thinking about cliches is that one has been bouncing around my head the last few days and I am struggling to get rid of it. There is a cliche that I will paraphrase that says, "wherever you move, there you are." Meaning no matter where you move you can't escape you, and you are the problem.  

We have the luxury to travel right now and move as fast or as slow as we want. Sometimes we get somewhere and it doesn't quite match up with our expectations and we quickly move on. But for the most part we have managed to land in safe places where we will be just fine. Some places are super cool and amazing places to explore, some are sketchy and aren't conducive to the exploration and excitement we are always hoping for. 

Wherever we land though the one constant part is that we are there. We have to be comfortable with us to make any experience one that can be positive. We are responsible for opening our hearts and minds up to new experiences and exploration.  You'd think it would be easy since we are traveling and living full time going new places, but it's not always easy to just be and then experience life. it's easy to get trapped dragging all the shit with us that we were supposed to have left behind. 

Here we are though, In Downtown Tucson. I struggle with liking Arizona. I feel like the only thing it has going for it is that it's warmer then Montana in the winter. There are many places warmer then Montana in the winter, but here we are, fucking Arizona. Breath in, breath out, let it go. Maybe Arizona isn't the problem, maybe I'm the asshole. 

The great lengths of love.

This is the story of how a serious of events lead to great lengths. Measurable only by trial and love.

On Christmas Day (2015) all of Ty's family got together to open presents from his parents; Mimi and Papa. It is a tradition we were honored to be apart of this year. There were more gifts than you can imagine. It is a morning of true magic for all 12 (soon to be 14!) grandkids. With that many people and that many gifts it is easy to get things misplaced. As my kids opened one gift and sat it down to open the next I stuffed them in a garbage bag so we could keep all our stuff together. 

Fast forward to December 26th. We woke up bright and early to make the 431 mile drive from SLC back to the airstream, which we had left in Las Vegas in an attempt to keep it from freezing. A few hours into the drive Luna asked for one of her presents. I told her I would grab it out of the garbage bag at our next stop. Ty said "what garbage bag? I didn't put a garbage bag in the truck!". Turns out that the garbage bag had accidentally been thrown away. Imagine that! Bad choice of baggage on my part. Long story kind of short, Mimi and Papa dug though the garbage, found the bag and put it in the mail to meet us at our next spot. 

Fast forward even further to January 11th. We were staying at Destiny RV Reaort in Goodyear AZ. Ty was on a bike ride and the kids convinced me we should go check the mail again, for the 10th time, to see if the package had arrived yet. The mailman was pulling away as we got to the office. It turns out that mail hour at a park full of retired folk is a pretty big deal. I didn't know. But when I asked the front desk lady if we had any mail she was quick to let me know that I'd have to wait for her to get it all ready and sorted. There was a line of at least two dozen elderly folk waiting. The kids and I decided to play on the lawn in front until it calmed down a bit. Next thing I know there is a beautiful dog running straight at us from off a really busy street. She was so thirsty and her paws were dripping with blood. She had clearly been running for a long time. 

This dog happened to be a pitbull. The RV park has a no pitbulls alowd rule. All the people waiting in the mail line started screaming and freaking out that there was a wild pitbull on the lose. As its kissing my kids. Scary beast! So the front desk lady takes a pause from her serious mail sorting job to come out and tell me she has the animal patrol on its way and that the dog will be euthanized right away. Are you kidding me? This sweet puppy is going to be killed? No way. My heart had no other choice. I decided right then and there that I was going to find this dog a home. It was at about this time that Ty returned from his bike ride. To find me with a homeless dog. He was overwhelmed. He knows me better than I know myself. I promised that I only wanted to find the dog a home. He was hesitant but could tell how strong my heart felt about saving this dog. Only because he is a supportive husband, he agreed to let me bring the dog into our little home and find it a family. 

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It must be noted here that in this time, Ty lost the key ring that holds all our important keys. He never loses things. Only when his mind is completely frazzled. I should also note that the package never arrived that day. We walked away with a dog instead of the thrown away Christmas gifts that had now been chasing us in the mail for two weeks. 

We went home, had dinner and got the kids to bed. I posted the dog on Instagram and went to take a shower. When I returned to the Airstream Ty said "Carrie wants her!". My heart burst right out of my eyes in explosive tears. Hearing that our beautiful midwife from Montana wanted the dog brought me so much relief. 

Ty was scheduled to work in Montana on the 25th anyway so we figured he could just rent a car, drive the dog to its new home, work and get a one way flight back to Arizona. That would mean us having the dog for nearly 2 weeks. Against Ty's better judgement (he knew I would want to keep her), we decided to go for it. 

The dog came into our lives, quickly took hold of all our hearts and left is feeling confused. Well, me at least. I fell in love and wanted to keep her, just as Ty had predicted. Before she came running into our lives I didn't want a dog. Only four months ago we did what only heartless jerks do. We gave our beloved Saint Bernard, Sid away. We didn't give her away so that we could replace her. We gave her away because we are trying every possible way to simplify our lives. But here we were. With this sweet abandoned dog who wants to do nothing more than sleep on my lap and kiss my kids.

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The next day we tried waiting around for the package but everyone was so upset that we had a pitbull we had to leave. We went to Tucson, as originally planned. The first day with the dog was exciting and so much fun. I think that night we all wanted her. The only thing that kept us committed to not calling her our own was the picture of our big Sid girl in the back of our minds. By the second day though our airstream started to feel small. The energy of our whole family was building in a very tense and uneasy way. 

Fast forward one last time to yesterday morning. We woke up to the dog being in active heat. Yes, of any time, the dog went into heat in our little airstream! There was blood spots on the blanket and her energy was totally different. Frantic and uncomfortable. Ty was beside himself grumpy. There was no way we could live like this for another full week.  

We quickly changed up our plans. Instead of staying at the Gilbert Ray campground for 3 more nights and slowly making our way back to the Phoenix area, Ty booked a rental car and I found a park for the kids and I to say at. It was 11:30. We packed up, moved, had lunch, took Ty and the dog to the car rental and kissed them goodbye at 3:30.

Side note: We were hurrying. Hurrying to get the kids and I settled and Ty on his way. But Ty is never to busy to help or listen to someone. He stood around listening to an old man tell him is life story. He only cut that conversation short to run across the street to pick up an old lady who had fallen down and couldn't get up. This was a day where we were all stressed. But all I could do was stare at my husband with admiration. He is a man beyond any I have ever met. 

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Ty and the dog drove until midnight last night. They woke up early this morning and drove to SLC where Ty returned the rental car, picked up his own car (we leave it parked at his sisters) and continued on all the way to Idaho Falls Idaho. Tomorrow they will finish the last leg where the dog will be united with her new family in Kalispell Montana. Ty will continue driving around the state of Montana for work, take his car back to his sisters in SLC and jump on an airplane to return to us in Tucson on Saturday. 

The origial flight we booked for Ty was a round trip ticket. He would have flown in and out of Bozeman and would have been gone for four days. Instead he drove 1,431 miles to take the dog. He will put on at lease another 1500 for work. And instead of being gone for four days he will be gone for a solid week. He did this because he knows how soft my heart is for animals. He liked the dog enough but he would have been fine taking it to the shelter. Except he loves me beyond explanation and this is just one of many examples of what lengths he is willing to go to support me. There is a big part of my heart that feels crushed. Crushed because I am the one who insisted on saving the dog but Ty is the one who has to drive thousands of miles to finish what I started. He doesn't see it this way though. He reassured me that we are a team and he will always be next to me and help me listen to my heart. We make each other better and stronger. I am forever grateful to have this man as my husband. 

To some this might seem ridiculous. But to us, we had no other option. Sometimes our hearts speak to us and we must do what we know is right. We went to great lengths to save this dogs life. But it had to be done and we are all stronger from this experience. If nothing else, the dog didn't die and will live a beautiful life with a loving family. And even bigger for us, I fell a little bit more in love with my husband. 

Oh, and we still haven't recieved the package. The package that lead us to be in the spot we were in when the dog found us. This series of events is an example of how everything happens for a reason. We can't always see or understand why certain things happen but in this case we are able to see it all so clear. 

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Disconnected

Lately I have felt fairly disconnected from day to day life. I ran into an acquaintance from high school on a flight today from Seattle to Phoenix. It quickly became complicated to explain what I was doing in Seattle. I had caught a flight in Boise to get back to my family who was outside of Phoenix in an Airstream .But what was I doing in Seattle. Well my flight had been rerouted from Portland and here I was.  He was just going to Phoenix for a Vacation. It made me think about all the movement that we have done in the last 3 months. From Bozeman to California, Port Angeles to SLC, it has been an extremely hectic period.

A friend emailed me this weekend who had just moved to Edinburgh, Scotland and asked if we were going back to Bozeman this summer or if it wasn’t home base any longer. I haven’t responded to the email because I don’t know that I have an answer for him.

Life seems strange and complicated and busy and less stressful and freer and harder and easier. It is a mass of mixed emotions and feelings.

It is such an overused analogy, but I feel like Tyler Durden from Flight club. How many amateur writers type that same thing on flights every day? Back when I was drinking my nickname was Tyler Durden too. Mainly because I was a black out drunk and wouldn’t remember conversations or what had happened. Now I feel like that character because I am trying to reinvent a timeline of my life. Where do I fit in? Where does my family belong? Are we going to find our new place? How long will it take?

Too many questions to answer on a 3 hour flight. Back to watching a crappy free movie on my GOGO app.