From 2008 until the spring of 2014 we lived inside a campground/park as the caretakers. Sam was 4 and Julia was 2 when we moved into the caretaker house. By the time we left Sam was 9, Julia 7, and our BabyBear, Elsa was 2 1/2.
PapaBear and I decided that the time had come to find a better work/family balance and that meant a ginormous step of faith because we didn't have housing lined up when we resigned our post.
Through some emotional twists and turns we ended up staying with family for three months before we moved into the house God had picked out just for us. It wasn't my first choice, but He closed the door on my dream home and opened the window to a property that was destined to be our forever home and turned out to be a perfect fit for our family in every way.
We have a huge garden, four apple trees, grapes, raspberries, and over 100 different flowering perennials growing in our yard. It feels a bit like we got to bring the country to town with us!
We live on almost an acre lot in the center of our sleepy little Midwestern town. We downsized from a 3,000 square foot farm house to a 1,600 square foot rambler and feel like we have MORE room than before. It helps that we offloaded 2/3rds of our possessions so we could fit everything in storage!
Our kids love having neighbors to play with and easy access to school, church, and parks. I fill my gas tank once every three weeks in the summer because we walk most places.
I continue to work at building my book design business and help authors who wish to self publish, couples who want wedding albums made, families who don't have time to make family albums, and companies who need help with marketing materials. PapaBear works 15 minutes from home and we finally have time to attend games, concerts, take vacations, attend school programs, and have relaxing weekends together instead of trying to figure out how we can be in four places at once like we often had to do at the park.
Will I change the name of my blog now that we aren't raising our kids in a campground anymore?
That's a fair question and one I can easily answer even after almost two years of being out of the campground lifestyle. No.
Living in a campground was an incredible opportunity and one that has shaped who I am today. If it weren't for the sacrifices we made to make park life work I wouldn't appreciate the life we have now. To this day I still think about how thankful I am when May rolls around and we can look forward to warmer weather instead of dreading the 50 extra hours a week we would add to our schedules.
On a nice day we can go for a bike ride to Dairy Queen as a family and not have to leave someone behind to cover the office. That might seem like a trivial thing, but I can't put into words how precious a little margin in our lives has become. We made some great friends and have wonderful memories from our campground days, but that chapter has ended and we look forward to new memories and new experiences raising our cubs in our new place.
So welcome to the new BearCountry! I am so glad you stopped by for a visit! The coffee is always on, the garden always needs weeding, there is always a crochet project in the works, and we will always be thankful for the blessings in our lives!