Thursday, June 27, 2013

Cross Country Travels...Our Route

Well as we countdown the last 24 hours before embarking on our journey across the country, I updated our google map to include Florida.  We figured since we were already driving to the east coast we might as well take the opportunity to visit Florida.  Our planned route covers just under 10,000 miles!  Yikes!

How did we decide where the stops would be?  One of the deciding factors was the locations of Six Flags theme parks.  We received season passes for Six Flags last Christmas and our passes allow us access to the Six Flags parks nationwide.  We will be visiting the parks in Missouri, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Washington D.C., Georgia, and Texas. Our children love roller coasters and we love a good deal.

The second deciding factor was location of national parks/monuments we've always wanted to visit, such as Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, Niagara Falls, Washington DC, the Arches in Utah, and the Grand Canyon.

Lastly, we wanted to stop where we have family.  There are many family members from my side of the family who are spread out across the U.S. and whom we haven't seen in way too many years.  Daniel's family, along with our older daughter, are all in Oregon so that will be our first stop.  This will also be the first time in the last 10 years that we will not be hosting 4th of July at our house, but you can bet Daniel will be helping light the fireworks.

We will be utilizing campgrounds, especially KOA's, during this trip so stay tuned for our pictures and reviews.  If you haven't already, please take the time to subscribe to this blog by e-mail so you don't miss any updates.

If you were to take a trip of a lifetime, what would be your top choice destination?


Monday, June 24, 2013

From Sticks and Bricks...

Well tonight is the first night we are sleeping in the trailer.  Our "launch" date isn't until Saturday, but you have to start sometime.  With four little ones running around moving everything I am organizing/packing and us trying to empty the house before we close escrow (fingers crossed) on Friday, we figured it would be better to give ourselves a few extra days.  When we planned this cross-country trip we thought the short sale of our house would finalize after we returned in September, however as of 2 weeks ago plans changed.  I have literally sorted through EVERYTHING we own.  For the last 2 Saturdays we've held massive garage sales and this past week we rented a storage unit for the belongings we wanted to keep.  Daniel has also made many trips to Goodwill and still has to go to the dump to get rid of the excess trash.  It is amazing how much "stuff" you can collect while living in a 3600 sq ft house for 7 years.

Garage sale

In case you are wondering if we've totally lost our mind, let me reassure you, we have.  We've been talking about taking a cross-country trip for years, but we either had the money and not the time or the time and not the money.  Now we have both so it seemed like the perfect opportunity.  I will spare you the logistics of how we were able to make this trip happen, but I will share with you that we have been in the planning stage since April.

Our older children (ages 21 and almost 19) both moved out within the last 2 months so it is just Daniel, me, and our 4 younger children (ages 11, 9 ,8, and 4).  Our travel trailer technically sleeps 9 and we have slept 9 in it for 5 days, but that makes it just a little crowded.  With just Daniel, me, and the younger children we don't have to convert the table or couch into beds which is really nice.  Stay tuned because I will be sharing a behind the scenes tour of our trailer shortly.  We have also been solving our storage issues one at a time and I think some of the solutions we've come up with are ingenious!

Make sure you become an e-mail subscriber so you can follow right along with us as we travel the United States while living in our 28 foot travel trailer.


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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Sweet Deal

The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption has been a resource we have used many times during our four adoptions, as well as when we were running our adoption support group.

This weekend they are offering a sweet deal (pun intended) that raises money for the foundation.  I understand not everyone can be a foster or adoptive parent, but this is one way you can help support children in foster care.

Thanks for your support,

We want to wish all the dads out there a Happy Father’s Day! The impact you make in your children’s lives each day is immeasurable.

Every year, Wendy’s celebrates dads during Father’s Day Frosty Weekend. With every Frosty sold this Saturday and Sunday, participating Wendy’s will donate 50 cents to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption so we can help children in foster care find the dads (and moms) they deserve.

So why not celebrate the dads in your lives with a good treat to help a great cause?
That’s one sweet deal.

Best wishes,
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption

Monday, June 10, 2013

Diverging DeLeon's

When we first came up with the name Diverging Lives for our blog, many people questioned it.  In this post, I hope to help you understand the name of our blog and get to know us a little better.  

To diverge means to extend in different directions from a common point, or "branch off".  All our lives we have done things differently, aka diverged from mainstream.  It hasn't always been by choice, but it has worked out for the best for our family.  
  • I graduated high school after my sophomore year and received my driver's license and my marriage license on the same day.
  • Daniel was the first of his 5 siblings to graduate from high school. 
  • We married young (Nicole was 16 and Daniel was 20).  We will be celebrating 22 years of marriage this month.
  • Daniel struggled with substance abuse issues for the first 5 years of our marriage.  God granted us a miracle and that is a whole other story.  Needless to say, Daniel will celebrate 17 years of being clean & sober this August.
  • Our first child, DJ, was born on our 10 month anniversary.
  • Our second child, Adriana, was born 2 years later.
For the next 7 years, we followed along the path that everyone was taking.  We were both working full-time, our kids attended public school, played soccer and little league, and we attended church regularly.  Until...
  • I became extremely ill and was in the hospital off and on for several months.  The only thing I could do was lay in bed with my eyes closed due to the severe headache I had.  I couldn't even get up to use the bathroom.  The doctors could not figure out what was wrong with me and finally diagnosed me with aseptic meningitis.  Up until this diagnosis, we were told there was a 95% chance I may have CNS lymphoma.  
This experience definitely made me re-evaluate what was important in my life.

  • I became completely disabled from my occupation as a Medical Assistant.  Daniel was working nights for a local grocery store chain.
  • We decided to begin homeschooling DJ and Adriana. They were in 5th and 3rd grades. 
  • We bought our first home. 
  • We spent more time as a family, going on field trips and discovering together.
  • We became more involved with our church and the recovery ministry.
  • God called us to become foster parents, to be an advocate for those who didn't have one.
  • Daniel opened his own roofing company.  
  • We bought our second home which was twice the size of our first home.  We also traded in our minivan for a 12 passenger van.
  • We went on to adopt all 4 of our foster children, making us a family of 8.
  • When the economy declined, Daniel had to close his roofing business.  He went back to school to get his license to become a Drug and Alcohol Counselor.
Due to our younger children's extra needs, we felt it was best to allow them to access the special education services from our local school district.  However, after navigating the system for about 5 years it wasn't meeting our children's needs and we decided to homeschool again.
  • We have completed 2 years of homeschooling our younger children and it was the best decision we could have made on their behalf.  It is incredibly difficult and time consuming, but the children are doing so much better.  
  • We are now in the process of short selling our house.
  • We are debt free (& after the sale of the house we will truly be debt free).
  • We own a 28 ft. travel trailer and have decided to take a 2 month trip cross-country with our 4 younger children.  There is no better way to learn US History than to experience it. 
Who knows, maybe this will become our new lifestyle.  Make sure you sign up to receive our blog updates by e-mail so you can follow along as we experience the United States this summer.


Supporting your fulltime RV adventures and aspirations

Homeschool Helps: Equivalent Fractions FREEBIE

 I know it has been a while since I have posted. Life is crazy, as usual. We are back to homeschooling two of our children this year. Becaus...