I'm Tonia and this is my family. There's Hubs, my wonderful partner; Bug, my darling daughter; and Boo, my charming son. We are the Collins clan. We are a homeschooling family who try our best to live out God's will for our lives every day. There are lots of stumbles along the way, but we love each other and this little life we're carving out for ourselves. Recently we found ourselves called to make some big changes in our lives so we're packing up the McMansion and moving out to a little farm in need of a lot of TLC. We have tons to learn and tons to do and we invite you to share the journey as we turn our not-so-new heap into a home.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Day One

This is like camping, only without any of the fun. I have told the kids and Hubs, "It's going to be okay" probably a hundred times. It's still unclear as to whether I'm trying to convince them or myself.  You really have no idea how many things you take for granted, how many things you consider "basic" needs until you don't have them anymore.

Like privacy:

Right now we're all four in one bedroom. The kids' bedroom is the first room to be renovated so we can't put them in there. Because we are downsizing in a big way we needed to come up with a more space utilizing way to have beds and storage available. We have a great plan that I can't wait to see come to fruition, but for the time being we have no dressers and no bed frames. The Hubs and I don't even have a proper mattress, instead we're sleeping on a queen size inflatable mattress. Our clothes are in totes, suitcases, and boxes- wherever we could stuff them. Just getting dressed is an ordeal. If one person snores, we all have a hard time sleeping. If the Hubs and I talk before going to sleep, little ears are right there listening. And you can forget about anything else....ahem.

Like bathing:

The 50 gallon propane hot water tank we need is a special order. We have no idea when it will come in and we seem to be the only people who are actually concerned about this detail. No hot water tank means no hot water- anywhere. This isn't a huge deal when you're washing your hands, but it's a monumental deal when it's time to take a bath. In order to get some warmish water we filled up our big plastic tubs with water from the tap and then put them out in the sun for the day. For our first day we didn't realize how much water we needed and only put out one tub. We also hadn't really processed that our tub had no plug so there was no way to keep the water in the tub. I improvised and used a canning lid over the tub drain, which worked as well as you might expect, considering the tub does not have a mason jar drain. We managed to keep enough of the tepid water in the tub for Boo's bath, but the rest of us had no choice but to take cold baths. It was not fun. We were able to find the right size drain plug and put out more water to warm on day two so last night's baths were much more enjoyable- if not warm. Once the stove has a new plug we'll be able to warm water and have warm baths. Every day we make some steps back toward "normal".

Like mealtime:

We have electricity, but the plug on the stove and the appliance outlet do not match so we're unable to use the stove. Not that it matters too much anyway- I have NO idea where any of my kitchen things are. Right now we have paper plates, plastic forks, and plastic cups.  There is a remarkably small amount of food that doesn't need cut, chopped, prepped or cooked. We are limited to lunch meat, almond butter and jelly, and cheese sticks. For sides we have carrots and dip, grapes, bananas, and chips. Preparing a meal requires more juggling and balancing than you'll see at the circus. Town is 15-20 minutes and a gallon of gas away so eating out is not a permanent solution. The next full day I have at the Heap will involve moving things around and trying to find some kitchen stuff. Things will still be challenging, but everything looks easier with a good meal in you so this situation really has to be improved quickly.

Lest you think we're complaining or feeling downtrodden let me make it clear: we're learning some really valuable lessons here. I don't think we'll ever take things as for granted as we have in the past. Bug said yesterday, "We have running water at least, some people don't even have that, yet alone hot water."  She couldn't be more on target. I have reminded myself repeatedly that there are those who live this kind of life all the time and there is no renovating going on, no hope for improvements. We are so blessed to have the chance to change our lives, in whichever direction we want to go. These inconveniences are fading fast-everyday we make small improvements that will add up to huge improvements very quickly. It's all part of the adventure!



  1. Good for you guys. You have not made an easy choice but you guys have determined it is the correct choice for your family so Kudos! for doing it!

    It's difficult going in to see where the small but bothersome difficulties (especially at the end of a hard, sweaty day) are going to be. Things you've always taken for granted and didn't seem like much of deal to do without, until you have to do with them and not by choice.

    But you are there in your new home, finally.

    It's good that you are tracking things like this because as you make the Heap more comfortable and closer to 'normal', these things that happened in your first weekend may start to slip away.

    Take lots and lots of of before and during pictures. Take lots of photos of the kids and of you and hubs, too. Ten,twenty plus years out you will not only want to remember what the kids were doing but you and hubs, too. And the kids will want to see what you and hubs were up to make it like it will be.

    Prayers continue to go for your family as you begin to settle into the country life.

    1. Thank you so much! Prayers are appreciated :)

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