NorCal | Week 2: When Pink Eye Strikes in a Tiny Space

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Hey friends,

Can you believe we're already wrapping up our second week in Northern California?! We'll be here for the next few months while Kirk completes a travel speech pathology assignment.

Now that we’ve been on the road for nearly a month, we’re starting to find our rhythm and get comfortable. If I’m being honest, the first few weeks were really hard. Our space was unfinished, it felt SO SMALL, and I was super cranky about it. It’s hard not to feel like a total wack-job when you’re surrounded by giant Class A RVs at the campground and you have a family of 5 squeezed in a tiny 19’ 5th wheel. Then again, we've always done things are own way, and I’m feeling really comfortable in our space now!

Last week I went on a cleaning and organizing frenzy. Although it’s easy for the camper to get disorganized incredibly quickly, we can clean just as fast. Finding places for all of our things is key, and we’ve already filled two garbage bags with stuff to donate. Yes, we still own too much for our current lifestyle. Surprising? Although I’m finding that the less we own the freer I feel.

The kids have not complained once about a lack of toys, in fact, they rarely play with the few that they’ve brought. The baby would far rather play with my (empty) essential oil diffuser, taking the lid on and off again. The big girls spend all day riding their bikes, looking for lizards, and playing imaginary games. By giving up so much (a house, a backyard, plenty of extras) we are able to give them the childhood we've always dreamed of.

Of course, this all looks so different than even what we expected. We’re still getting the hang of homeschooling and naps in a small space. In case you’re curious, the girls are required to either play right outside the camper door or read books in the loft while I lay the baby down. Sometimes it works great, other times he wakes up quickly. He’s become such an adaptable baby, not having his own crib, and learning to sleep in whatever safe space I lay him down in.

Speaking of sleep spaces, ours have become highly flexible, as I expected. The girls mostly sleep in the loft, the baby sleeps on the “couch” with baby gate blocking the opening (so he doesn’t fall out), and we sleep on the dinette. Yet, this sleep arrangement was totally challenged this week as our middle gal, C, came down with pink eye.

I’m not sure about you, but my biggest concern in a small space is always illness, after we had food poisoning in Yosemite a few years back. We take a TON of preventative measures to insure healthy immune systems (perhaps a post about this soon? Let me know in the comments if that’s your jam), but we still couldn’t avoid pink eye striking our tiny home!

We noticed last Wednesday that around lunchtime her eye looked goopy. We took her to urgent care, and the PA took one look and diagnosed her with pink eye. Oh boy! We immediately started her on antibiotic eye drops (the first antibiotics she’s had in her 4 years) and DISINFECTED the entire camper top to bottom. The bright side of being in less than 100 sq ft? This took about 10 minutes. We then washed all of the girls’ bedding and clothes and sprayed every hard surface with 7th Generation natural disinfectant. We let her sleep in the loft alone, Kirk slept on the couch, and V and the baby slept on the dinette with me. Not our finest sleep, but hey, so far no one else has caught it.

As we wrap up this second week of our time in NorCal, I can’t help but reflect on how much the Scamp is feeling like home. The kids are so happy here, and I feel my months (years?) of anxiety and depression lifting. I spent the last 3 years of our time in Northern Indiana building building building my online responsibilities: the Cohesive Home podcast, two teaching jobs, this blog, and social media. I felt disconnected and frantic from the moment I woke up to the moment I laid down, often waking in the night with endless To Do lists.

In the past two months, I haven’t recorded a podcast, quit one of my teaching jobs and took a 2 month break from the other, cut back on social media, and made the decision to blog my own way and on my own schedule. My focus is back on my kids and my home and especially trying to cultivate the slow and simple life I’ve valued and desired for years now. it’s ironic that the more I communicated on the topic (through the podcast and social media) the less my life resembled slow living. By letting go and choosing a difficult, but rewarding travel lifestyle, I’m finally returning to what I left in Oklahoma City years ago: simplicity.

I hope my experiences encourage you that no matter where you are on your path, you can change it if it doesn’t match up with your values. It’s incredibly hard to say no or to turn down work and take a pay-cut. But as I watch my sweet kids growing rapidly before my eyes, I’m realizing the bittersweet truth of what I’ve missed over the past 3 years while I was distracted. If you struggle with the same, I hope that you find the strength to make necessary changes and choose a life that supports your highest values.

That’s it for now. Kirk took the kids to a science museum so I could get some grading and writing done, and we’re about to head back to the campground for a cozy night at home. Hope you have a lovely, unhurried weekend and thanks for reading!

Kate

 

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