Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Little by Little

As word begins to spread amongst friends and acquaintances about the changes ahead for our family, many new questions continue to arise. Obviously, some changes are bigger than others. Selling our house and moving into an RV and a major vocational change for Jason are the biggest changes, but many other lifestyle changes are currently taking place in preparation for our big move. Many are so seemingly insignificant in light of bigger changes that I don't even think about them until they come up in conversation.

One of the biggest changes is the shift from private school education to homeschooling for our kids. While our girls are still in school now and will continue to finish the year strong in the school that we love, we are finalizing curriculum research and gathering our materials to transition to homeschool methods over the summer. Fortunately, summer break coincides with the timing of our big move, so we aren't feeling like we have to make a quick jump into road schooling, but we also will not be waiting until September to begin the next level of education for our kids and I want to make sure that our plans are in place to begin whenever we feel settled enough to start up with school again. Once plans are finalized, I'll write a separate post about our plans as we begin our first year of homeschooling (or road schooling as we most frequently refer to it).

Another aspect of life with small children, namely an 18-month-old, is dealing with diapers. We are pretty anti-early potty training around here--mostly because it has backfired more than once on us with having kids nearly trained by 18 months--then have a new baby+regression=AWFUL process to re-train them (and before about age 2, it's not the kid who is being trained but the adults who are toileting them who are being trained)! So we just don't go there anymore and wait until they are ready. And our kids tend to be later ones to the fully-potty-trained party, and that's totally okay by us. All that to say, we are still deep in the throws of life with diapers with Eliza. We typically don't give a moment's thought to buying diapers. For environmental and economic reasons alike, we have been a cloth-diapering household since the week that Caroline was born almost 7 years ago. She was a 100% cloth baby due to skin sensitivities, and the 3 babies after her have been somewhere between 50-75% cloth-diapered (we're realistic with the expectations that we put on ourselves--it comes with the territory of having 4 kids in 5 years!). When we buy disposable diapers we either buy the enormous box from Costco that lasts 2 or more months or order a similar shipment from and we only think about buying diapers every 6-8 weeks or so. All this will change when we go on the road. There will be no on-your-doorstep diaper delivery service, storage space will be at a premium--so no 200 pack of diapers from Costco, and I will not be washing our diapers in the laundromat every 3 days. This week I bought my first small package of diapers to begin learning what it is like to buy diapers weekly. At $10 for 36 diapers--and realizing that I'll have to go back to the store to buy another package next week, I can see why many parents are proponents for early potty learning!

Along with buying diapers in bulk, we also like to keep a well-stocked pantry and freezer. We put up food for the year, whether by canning or freezing during harvest season and buy our meat in bulk from local farmers. As we finish using what was put up last year, it feels really strange to not be preparing to put up the bounty from this coming season. Instead, I am preparing to adjust our food-buying to shopping weekly (or twice weekly) for our family. Again, with freezer, refrigerator and pantry space at a premium in an RV, we need to learn how to plan and prepare meals and do our grocery and market shopping with an entirely different mindset.

Another adjustment that I haven't given thought to, but came to light in the midst of the Kid Stuff Sale last weekend, is how we've all significantly pared down our wardrobes. The younger kids each have about 2 weeks of clothes, or 14 outfits, for this summer--including dress clothes, casual clothes, play clothes--everything! The older girls are currently wearing the same size, so they have about 3 weeks worth of clothes, or 21 outfits, combined between them for this summer. That sounds like a lot, but if you compare it to previous seasons it is a significant reduction! We've opted for pieces that can be mixed and matched together and dresses that we can stretch through several seasons for the girls in order to keep a more minimalist wardrobe. Jason and I have also pared our wardrobes down significantly. While he still needs a professional wardrobe for school, I have slashed my clothing down to 2 pair of jeans, 3 other pants, 2 pair of shorts, a few skirts, a handful of dresses and a handful of tops and t-shirts that pair with my skirts/pants/shorts. My wardrobe is effectively 1/3 what it was just a few months ago. And you know what? I don't even notice the difference! With compact wardrobes I am forced to do laundry on a regular basis, but that's something else that I need to get into the habit of. When we are living in a 400-square-foot space, how much laundry do I really want to let pile up anyway?! There are better things to devote our time and space to.

A few other adjustments that we've made lately to help ease our transition include selling our desktop computer and adjusting to a single laptop for our family, canceling our newspaper subscription, and canceling our dairy delivery (probably the saddest and hardest for me!). There are more to come, but what currently seems like a sacrifice is for a greater purpose. If we're going to live our dream, we have to step away from what has always worked in our current situation for what will serve us best in our new situation. Just because something has always worked doesn't mean it's always the best option. As our plans evolve, everything is coming under scrutiny and the only absolute is that we're going to do what is best for the Simpson Six in a manner that will bring honor to God. And contrary to what I have always believed, sometimes "living the dream" means buying a $10 pack of disposable diapers every week.


  1. Will you be taking a printer with you? The reason I ask is because maybe you could print diaper coupons. Those small packages of diapers do get expensive. I'm so impressed with you guys for pursuing this!

  2. Yes, we will have a printer with us. I will need to start printing diaper coupons. I usually use whatever comes our way toward Pull-Ups (since I found the huge packs from Costco/Amazon to be cheaper than anywhere else even with coupons, and we're perpetually in a state of 1 in diapers/1 in Pull-Ups!), but our goal is for Ian to be 100% in underwear when we hit the road, so hopefully that will make a difference!