Author Archives: Stephanie

About Stephanie

I'm 28 years old and have two kids, a boy and girl. I love instinctive parenting and keeping my kids close. I am a Certified Lactation Educator. We live in beautiful, sunny San Diego. I enjoy breastfeeding, crocheting, and going on hikes.

Excuse my absence

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I have been pretty busy with my other responsibilities like taking care of my family and the RV, taking care of my mental health (yoga!!!), and, most importantly, I started a certificate program online. I am almost done! Hopefully only one week left and then I plan on getting back into blogging about our fun life. I have some fun things to talk about on my revamped blog: new couch, yoga in the RV, and the new resort that we have been staying at lately.

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Sadness on the Rig

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Sadness on the Rig

After we moved into our RV, we adopted a rescue dog. She was a husky mix, super sweet, and so gentle. She loved meeting other dogs on her walks and was even great about having visiting dogs and going to visit other dogs in their homes. She traveled with us to Nebraska and did really well there with my mother-in-law’s dog. We stayed the night at a friend’s house that has two dogs and she was great the whole time. Why am I telling you this? Because I decided to bring home our beagle from my parent’s house when I visited them a couple of months ago.

Because of how friendly she was, we assumed that she would do well with another dog living with her. Sometimes she seemed lonely and we wanted her to have a friend. We also have been wanting to bring our beagle back to us. We bought him shortly after we got married. He didn’t do well when we moved here 3 years ago. He had horrible anxiety and damaged a lot of things in our apartment. We decided it would be best for him to go live with my parents. It has been 3 years and we can finally have dogs again since the military housing we lived in didn’t allow them.

Ana, the rescue husky, did really well meeting Dublin, the beagle. She seemed a little possessive over her bed adn she showed aggression when she was eating. We took the correct precautions and kept them separated during feeding time and when we were having meals, yet somehow she was still showing our beagle aggression. They were both tied up outside and I guess Dublin found a bone and she nipped him. The last time that it happened, it was in the kitchen. I had cleaned up our table but there was still food on the stove top. She just flipped out and nipped bad at Dublin.

That was the last straw. Even with our precautions that we took, we still couldn’t protect our beagle and keep her calm. With a heavy heart, we decided that she needed to go to a new home. It just wasn’t going to work out. We were so fearful that she would get into a fight and one of the kids would be right there. This was not an easy decision to come to but we knew that it was what was best for our family.

I was looking into shelter to surrender her to and even tried e-mailing a husky rescue. It was fate that I was “working” and saw a post of someone looking for a husky breeder. I chatted with her via messenger and asked questions about her family to see if they would be a good fit. I stressed that she is an amazing dog BUT just not good with other dogs in her home.

Just a little background on Ana, she was probably a street dog in Mexico. She most likely had to scavenge for food and scare away other dogs that would try to eat what she found. She probably ate out of the trash a lot. When we adopted her, she was still very skinny. She used to be malnourished. Considering all of that, it is understandable that she would have food aggression towards other dogs. She did not have food aggression towards humans.

After talking and sharing pictures with the girl I contacted, she and her husband were very excited to meet Ana and were already sold on making her a part of their family. We took her over to their house where she met them and they fell in love with her right away. She seemed very excited to be in their home and was already making herself comfortable. They decided that they liked her personality and they seemed like very caring people to me. I feel very confident in our decision.

Although I know that this is the right thing to do, it still wasn’t easy. If I had things my way, she would magically lose her food aggression and she would have been a perfect fit for our family. I have so much guilt for rehoming her, but I just keep reminding myself that this was the right thing to do. I have to consider the safety of our other dog and our children. It hurts my heart that we had to let her go, but I know that it is for the best. It is never easy losing a pet that you love and made a part of your family.

On the bright side, she is making a sweet couple very happy and she will adjust to the new home and be very happy. I hear they are already spoiling her and letting them snuggle in bed with them. She had to sleep on her dog bed on the ground here.

What is sad is that I mentioned the situation on my Instagram page and someone assumed that I wasn’t letting the dogs get their energy out because we live in an RV. Our dogs went on walks everyday. They both spent time outdoors as long as they needed because of tie-outs. They got more fresh air living in the RV than if we were living in an apartment. It is sad the judgements that full-time families get because we choose to live in an RV. Having an alternative living situation does not mean that our children or pets are missing out.

6 Things I Miss About Sticks and Bricks

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I really love living in an RV, but there are a few things that I took for granted in our sticks and bricks (which is what people in the RV community call a normal house built on the ground), or s&b, home that I absolutely miss now. This list is different than what my husband would probably write, so maybe I will have him to a guest post. Also, some of these things that we are lacking may just be because of our travel trailer, not for all RVs. You will see as you read the list.

1. Bath Tub: I didn’t realize how much I would miss having a bath rub until now. It isn’t like I used one often, but it was nice to have it as an option if I needed a relaxing soak. The kids really miss having a bath rub. I supposed I could buy a little storage tub and use that, but I don’t think it would be big enough for the both of them, and they love doing things together. It would make my life so much easier if we had a tub. These kids hate having water over their heads and it is pretty difficult to avoid that in the shower. Of course, when it came time to wash their hair, water would go over their head, but it was more controlled in the tub. If we had a tub, we would clearly have a a larger shower, which I also miss.

Some RVs do have bath tubs, but none of the 5th wheel models that we liked had them, so it seems we won’t have one until we move back into a s&b.

2. Washer/dryer: I absolutely hate going to the laundromat. I try to avoid it at all costs, which means that instead of me doing the laundry, I let it stack up until my husband volunteers (basically forced) to do it. I almost feel badly for it, but I don’t. I just hate going there so badly. There at least is a laundromat at the RV resort, but that still means I have to lug a large bag (or 2) full of laundry, 2 kids, and the detergent to the laundromat, That either means I have to load it up in the car or juggle the kids and the laundry in the stroller. Either way, it takes way too much work and I hate it. There also isn’t a lot of options when it comes to selecting a cycle for the load, so that is a downer.

Helping with laundry at the laundromat within the RV resort

When we move into a 5th wheel, the model we are looking at has a washer and dryer hook up in the master bedroom. It will, of course, have to be a small washer and dryer, but at least we can have one in the rig.

3. Good Water Pressure: It is barely a trickle of water when we take a shower. I would be better off trying to take a shower in the pathetic “rain” that California gets. Okay…maybe it isn’t that bad, but it still has really low water pressure. I am not saying that I want a shower that feels like it washes off the first few layers of skin it is so high, just a nice modest amount. It also seems to have gotten worse. We probably need to get some kind of filter. I am sure there probably is some mineral deposits in the shower head or something.

4. Large, Comfortable Couch: We actually have a lot of sitting space in our RV, but the couch that we have is so uncomfortable. It is stiff and ugly. It barely fits me length wise (I am a shorty) and it isn’t very wide, so it isn’t easy, or comfortable, for me to nurse my daughter to sleep on it. The pillows that came with it were hideous and stiff and now they are in the trash. The couch we had before was so big, wide, and so comfortable that you never wanted to leave it. We also have two recliners and they are incredibly comfortable, but I am much more of a large, comfy couch person.

Unless we completely revamp the inside of our future 5th wheel, we won’t have a large, comfy couch until we move back into a s&b. Someday…

5. Large Refrigerator: From my last post you can see exactly how tiny our fridge is. It is barely bigger than those tiny little fridges that you would find in a cheap hotel room. It is so difficult to shove all of our produce and other perishables into our fridge. We somehow manage to fit more than a weeks worth of groceries in there, but when we do, you can barely find anything. It is like a game of tetris trying to find ways to fit everything in there and still close the damn thing. Our freezer is incredibly tiny, too. On the bright side, it no longer smells rotten.

Some of the 5th wheels we looked at have either a double tiny fridge or an actual full sized fridge. There is hope for our future.

6. Gas Stove/range: I wasn’t an amazing cook before we moved in to the RV, but I feel like I am even worse now. It isn’t particularly easy to cook on a propane range and is so difficult to get the temperature right. We don’t use the oven because it would eat up the propane too quickly and it really costs to fill up the propane tanks. Because of that, we use a convection use since we do not have to pay for electricity. The convection oven isn’t so bad to use, but we cannot have the convection oven and the AC running at the same time, so I have to turn off the AC. It is way too hot to turn off the AC this time of year. We have done it a few times and instantly regret that decision to bake anything for dinner. The times I forget to turn off the AC I instantly regret it because then the breaker pops and I have to go outside and flip it back on because it overloads the 30amp. The other thing that I hate about cooking on the rig is that it isn’t always perfectly level, so food doesn’t always cook evenly. There is just so much wrong with cooking. I still do cook because I want our family to eat healthy foods, but it just leaves a lot for me to grumble about.

Since I tend to put off laundry, it stacks up to the point where we are washing 3 loads at once

You may be surprised to not see “more space” or “dishwasher” on the list. I honestly do not mind the fact that we have less space for things. I enjoy living in a smaller space and having less things. I have found that I do not need a dishwasher. It really isn’t that difficult to keep up with the dishes if I was them more often, and it isn’t a pain to wash them more frequently, either.

We opened the fridge and wanted to puke

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It had been a couple of years since we had visited family in Nebraska and we also haf been invited to a wedding, so we decided to make a trip there for a couple of weeks, including trabel time. We drove instead of flying to save the person paying for our trip some money. Since we wanted to get there quickly and planned to stay at a family member’s house, we opted to leave the RV in storage. To get it prepper for storage,  I had to defrost the fridge.

I read a little bit on how to defrost a fridge and just went for it. Easy peasy, I thought.  It didn’t take long for the freezer start defrosting and I sopped it up as needed. I left a couple things in the fridge that I planned to take and grouped together in the middle. My husband got home and we started packing up the truck to leave. The freezer was mostly dry and I closed it for moving. I grabbed our drinks (for the drive) out of the fridge and closed it. We moved the trailer to storage, locked the rv, then left.

If you are clever, observant, or basically not absent minded like me, you would have noticed that I left some stuff in the fridge and closed it. I left food to rot in our fridge for two weeks. Not only did I leave it in there, but I left the fridge damp and sealed. Perfect environment to grow a few things.

We return from the trip and hook up to Rocky to tow him to our new spot. We set him up like normal by putting down stabilizers, popping out the sides, and hooking up power and sewage. We turn on the fridge and the air cpnditioning. We go grab dinner and a few groceries to last until we feel up to a longer grocery trip. We get home, open the fridge, then nearly puke.

I left milk and crab in the fridge. It was a gut wrenching smell. I am seriously impressed that neither of us puked after smelling that. I check out the freezer and there was only a couple of mold growths in there. The fridge was practically covered in a thin layer of mold. There were little flies flying around in there and even tons of little fly larvae stuck to the sides. It seemed like a lost cause. I wanted to tear out the fridge and throw it away, but clearly not an option. Neither was just ignoring the fridge in hopes that it would go away. My husband told me to wait until tomorrow to clean it. I’m guessing he didn’t want to smell it while I was cleaning it.

Instead of cleaning it, I prepped it for cleaning. With ninja-like moves, I swiftly grabed the milk and crab and proceeded to bag them. I tied them tight and stuck them outside, so as to not suffocate anyone within the RV. I grabbed my homemade cleaner and, while holding my breath, aggressively sprayed the entire insides of the fridge. I did that several times that night. I’m not sure if it was actually killing the flies and helping combat the stank, but it sure felt productive.

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The next day is when I tackled the task of cleaning and sanitizing the fridge. It did seem less stinky and active in the fridge when I looked that morning. I took out all the removable parts and cleaned and sanitized the fridge. It took a lot of effort to locate each larvae and remove it. I feel absolutely disgusting after cleaning everything and even more disgusting using the fridge after seeing the horrific scene that it was merely hours before, but we have to use it. It is properly sanitized, so I just have to get over it. I learned my lesson and that certainly won’t be happening again.

I am not alone in being absent minded. My husband joined the club when he was trying to level out the RV after we already had all the stabilizers in place. This resulted in some loud popping noises and now the front stabilizers no longer work. We are assuming it blew the motor on those stabilizers. We are still trying to figure out what to do with that situation. We mostly just hope that 3 weeks from now, when we have to move, that we will be on the top of our RV game. Poor Rocky has been through enough.

Sweetwater People

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Owen is always excited to explore outdoors

The people of Sweetwater are more of a camping crowd rather than a majority of them being a full-time RVing crowd. The full-timers that end up there are usually doing it to get out of Pio Pi for the one week that you need to be out of the campground before checking back in or they might just be quickly passing through. There are TONS of open spaces, so the crowd is more spread out. Everyone generally keeps to themselves. People will say ‘Hi’ and chat a little bit, but it isn’t anything like the people that are in Pio Pico.

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Enjoying the campfire

Sweetwater is more inside the city of San Diego instead of being ‘back country’, as they would call Pio Pico. Because of that, there is a lot more city sounds than Pio Pico. It seems people keep to themselves a bit more or perhaps it is that they are out in the city more often. Our dog, Ana, gets greeted less frenquently and we see less people out for a walk. Ana is such an attention craving dog. She needs to see others out on her walks or she starts to get antsy…or so it seems. I haven’t really asked her much about the matter. Either way, while there, she gets less attention from neighbors.

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Nice defined front area with fire pit

Other than the social aspect, there are still a couple more downsides, like the fact that they do not have a laundromat. So to do laundry I either have to take the kids to a laundromat or go to a friend’s house. Lucky for me, I have a couple great friends that let me do laundry at their house. They do generally charge visitors a parking fee when they come to visit us, and once we were even charged a fee for our extra car. It also costs us to stay there where it costs us nothing extra, aside from our membership dues, to stay at any of the Thousand Trails resort.

The main perk of staying in Sweetwater, other than being closer to the city and friends, is that we can actually have a wood fire there. In Pio Pico, you can only do composite wood or coal. It’s nice to have an actual wood fire and roast marshmallows over it. Here in San Diego county, we take fire safety seriously. It is so easy to spark a wild fire, so campgrounds like to have more controlled fires. Also, here in Pio Pico, they don’t have fire pits at every site like they do in Sweetwater.

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Getting ready to leave

Another good thing is we do have cell signal in Sweetwater, but no wifi as we do in Pio Pico. However, that doesn’t help us any when we put on a (educational usually…hah) show for Owen. Streaming eats up our mobile hot spot data. We can still easily make phone calls, which we are not able to easily, or reliably, do in Pio Pico (it involves hiking up a hill for guaranteed signal or hoping wifi calling works).

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They played around with snails while we prepped the rig to move

After spending a couple of weeks in another Thousand Trails resort, we decided we probably will only go to Sweetwater when we are wanting to have friends over for a campfire. Basically, just for a fun weekend. There are some really pretty views, hiking trails, and a concrete slab to park our rig on, but it isn’t enough to keep us there regularly.

Have you stayed at many different campgrounds? Do you have a favorite that you always return to? Next blog post will be about why we move every 1-3 weeks!

Pio Pico People

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We stayed at Pio Pico for 5 weeks total and we really enjoyed it. We were away from the city and in a lovely community. Honestly, the community of full-time RV living families there are older retired couples. There are younger ones, of course, but the people we saw most often there were older and retired. We really got along with the people that we have stopped to chat with.

One couple in particular was very friendly and helpful. Joyce, Warren, and their dog Noel. Joyce immediately fell in love with our dog, Ana, and was talking to us because of her. While we were there, the family caught the stomach flu and Joyce came to our RV every morning for 6 days to walk Ana in the morning so that I wouldn’t have to both with both kids and a dog while ill. That was such a tremendous help!

We did meet a couple that was a little closer to our age and they also had two younger daughters. Unfortunately, they do a lot of traveling and we’re there for just the night. Since we are a military family, we have become experts and quickly becoming friendly with people, so we stayed late st their RV, had some beers, and watched the kids play together. I ended up talking about home births (the woman had 2 home births in Canada!!) and breastfeeding (of course). It was a nice little visit even though it wouldn’t happen again.

It’s not that many of the people are trashy, but they definitely have moments of lacking class, although I don’t know what I was expecting. On a couple of mornings when my husband played golf, I took the kids to the Coyote Canyon Cafe to get breakfast. Both times while I was there, I saw people bring in their own cans of cheap beer. I mean, at least make it a craft beer.

Unfortunately, we haven’t gotten outside furniture or an enclosure (for the kids) yet, so we haven’t spent tons of time outside of the RV. The times where we did spend more time outside while grilling, we did have some people stop by chat with us. We’ve met a lot of military people and people escaping from states like South Dakota. Everyone says ‘hi’ to each other and comments on our cute dog and cute kids. There was even a chili cook off and hot rod show there. I love the small community feeling! I trust this community more than I trusted the military housing community that we lived in before. I can even leave some belongings out front without the fear of it getting stolen.

Not only are the people in Pio Pico so friendly and kind, but the area is incredibly lovely. Pio Pico is in the unincorporated community called Jamul. It is just outside of San Diego City, so you get more nature and less sounds. We love escaping the city to be in such a peaceful area. There’s even a nice little trail deeper into the valley that Pio Pico in tucked into that has lots of great fields that would make for a perfect family photo opportunity.

Unfortunately we aren’t paying the extra money to rent a spot on a monthly basis, so we can only stay there for up to 3 weeks at a time. However, we can return after being off the resort for a week.

We’ve been staying at a campground in Bonita, which is another unincorporated community in San Diego, at a small daily fee, which is where we are currently staying.

Next blog post I will write about staying in Sweetwater. Do you feel like the area you live in has a nice community? If you could, would you like to be able to pick up and leave somewhere, with your home, to go to a better community? Do you think we will have the same opinion about Sweetwater?

Smoky Rocky

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I’ve never been a good cook. I won’t ever pretend that. My parents made everything for me and never taught me how to make anything. I was also very, very picky. When I got married, I was just thrown into being a homemaker. My parents never had me do regular chores, either, so I wasn’t good at those…but let’s save that for another time. As the years of being married have gone by (6.5 years), I certainly have improved with the meals I can cook. After I had my son nearly 4 years ago, I started cooking healthier meals (graduated up from using hamburger helper) and trying new things (I finally ate an actual orange), so my meals started to drastically improve from that point. Aside from the improvemsnts, I am still not am impressive cook, but at least I was comfortable with my abilities.

At the house before the trailer, I would cook regularly and I started to use a cast iron skillet. I used Teflon coated pots and pans, but I really wanted to stop using them. I also had some stainless steel ones that I would use, as well. I had a food processor, a standing mixer, rice cooker, blender, crock pot, and I’m sure a couple other appliances. On Rocky, we brought the rice cooker. All other appliances were sold or went into storage. We bought a convection oven to use instead of the oven built in oven because we didn’t want to eat up all of our propane with cooking. I also brought only the stainless steel pots and pans and two cast iron skillets to rid our household of nasty Teflon. Yay for living an even more chemical-free life!

Except now I feel like I have suddenly gotten ten times worse with cooking. Maybe it is the cast iron skillet or the propane stove that is challenging to adjust, but I now set the smoke detector off multiple times a week. Of course I turn the range hood fan, but it doesn’t seem to work very well. So Rocky gets very…smoky and then the RV gets very noisy. We have to open some windows and the door to try and air out the RV. It’s very frustrating and discouraging. I find myself dreading the use of the range. I want to switch back to non-stick so stuff doesn’t stick and then maybe I will also not have the smoke detector going off. The flame on the range doesn’t really seem to adjust well, either, so I haven’t been able to pinpoint where the problem is coming from.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated with cast iron cooking and RV propane range cooking, too. I know my meals normally aren’t this bad. Something needs to be done! I’ve stopped cooking breakfast and have started eating cereal or muffins instead of eggs and bacon. If you are my friend on facebook, you are then very aware of my love for bacon, so this is very upsetting. Please help!!!