The Sights Unseen

Sensenig Family RV Adventures


June 11, 2013

Bristol Public Library

I want to share a bit about where we spend much of our time while we are in East TN and SW VA. I’ve talked about how much Hannah loves to be with other kids. As far as options for finding friends and spending quality time with them, we can plan play dates with friends, but that can’t always be an option every day. So, we have outdoor play areas, indoor play areas, museums, finding friends at the campground or visiting the Bristol Public Library.

We turn to the library often and are so in love with it.

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Here are our reasons for loving the library:

1) It is so very welcoming. The children’s section is actually separated from the rest of the library. When you enter, it feels like you are walking into a very fun, open place for play, reading, connecting and activities.

2) It is a magical place. Hannah can find a book on just about anything in this special library. Whether she wants to explore fairy tales, dinosaurs, cats, castles, princesses or possums, she can find it there. And not just the books…there are games and other items to encourage her to explore those things that interest her and the space to create lots of imaginative play. And Dylan can go to the lower level of the library and find what he is looking for….and space to read on his own there, or join us in the children’s section.

3) Activities. Story time. American Girl Book Club. Summer Reading Program. All of these things draw our kiddos in. It is a place to connect with others and create friendships based on play and interests of similarity. A place to learn and grow and just be.

4) Resources. If I see and hear of an interest that my kids have, I can spend my time at the library finding things that will help them explore those interests further. Reference books, books on tape/cd, videos, games, computer access, magazines and helpful librarians that have become our friends.

5) Citrus. The bird that talks to us as we enter the library and helps our kids engage in speaking to and caring for animals.

6) Caterpillar Crawl. An actual walk through Downtown Bristol TN/VA to discover certain characters from Eric Carle‘s book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, to tell the story of this wonderful book.

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Currently, the library has just begun their Summer Reading Program. We joined them this evening for story time, which included a few stories about gardens, digging and gnomes; an art activity of creating their own gnome and a gnome home….and eating mud, dirt and worms. Really…it was just pudding, oreos and gummy worms. The kids LOVED it!

Tomorrow, we will join them for another story time and the movie, Gnomeo and Juliet.

I am sure that there is more to tell about this library and all they have to offer, but I will finish by saying this:

It is a place that my children constantly ask to go visit. That tells me that it is offering them something that makes their heart happy and their imagination and creativity blossom and grow.

That is worth more than gold to me.

Many thanks to the Bristol Public Library for all that they offer my family and many others that walk through their doors.

Beauty and Blessing Awaits,

Christy

6 Month Nomadiversary

Pretty unbelievable that we have been traveling in our RV and living in it for six months. We have been through some dramatic ups and downs during this time, but the ups definitely outweigh the downs, by a long shot.

We have been through 16 states (some of which we were able to enjoy, some we just passed through) and we have seen incredible sights and experienced some amazing things along the way. The ones that stand out in my mind: Southern Oregon (we will be back, Oregon!); sunset on the Pacific Ocean in Ventura, CA; Grand Canyon; meeting up with new friends (by accident) in Flagstaff, AZ; sunset in North Little Rock, AR; hearing Hannah tell us when we entered Texas, ‘this is the place I was born to be!’; Northern and Central Florida, meeting our solid community of traveling families and now being among family and friends in TN.

We have no plans of stopping this journey anytime soon. We are already planning our next departure in August and looking forward to what that brings us as a family. So many opportunities lie before us and we are excited to grasp whatever the future holds for us.

We have a quote that is hanging in our RV that reads:

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. LIVE the life you’ve imagined.”  Thoreau

And that is exactly what we will continue to do.

Thanks for joining us as we LIVE our dreams.

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Beauty and Blessing Awaits,

Christy

May 20, 2013

Back In Tennessee

We decided to drive the entire day back from PA, so we could get back to TN sooner. Steve had to work the following evening and we were hoping to have some time to relax before he had to return. We made several stops along the way, which helped the more active members of the family, and we arrived at the campground that evening.

Our relaxation was short lived when we realized we needed to get out and about, so we kept ourselves busy with activities. Trips to playgrounds, museums and play dates were part of our days this past week.

One of the museums that we visited is called Hands On Museum and is located  in Johnson City, TN. We enjoyed our time there very much and especially enjoyed seeing Hannah getting some fun play time there.

Walking to Hands On!

Walking to Hands On!

Kite Making Lab

Kite Making Lab

News Reporter

News Reporter

Steve and his "twin"

Steve and his “twin”

Dressing up and dancing/singing...she LOVED this!!

Dressing up and dancing/singing…she LOVED this!!

The flower Steve made me :)

The flower Steve made me 🙂

Bank Teller

Bank Teller

The view traveling from Johnson City to Elizabethton...beautiful!

The view traveling from Johnson City to Elizabethton…beautiful!

The campground we are currently parked in is gearing up for some Memorial Day activities here in a few days. The pool will be opening (YAY!), there will be a concert this weekend and I’m sure lots of new people coming in for the summer. We feel very fortunate to be at Lakeview RV Park. The people are so friendly, hosts and neighbors, and we are grateful for them all.

A bit after sunset from our campsite

A bit after sunset from our campsite

View of the mountains from the pool area

View of the mountains from the pool area

A view of the lake from the rear of our site

A view of the lake from the rear of our site

The lake

The lake

Our site...with our car, yay! Now, to find a tow dolly...

Our site…with our car, yay! Now, to find a tow dolly…

Steve is in full work mode at Barter Theatre, playing keys for Les Mis. If you are in the area anytime between now and mid-August, be sure to check it out! Otherwise, we are keeping very busy with trips to the library, play dates, gymnastics, playing music and desperately trying to clean out our two storage units (hopefully bringing it down to one!)

Thanks for reading  and following along our journey. We’re so glad you came to visit 🙂

Beauty and Blessing Awaits,

Christy

 

May 12, 2013

Pennsylvania

After our trip to Virginia, we were off to Pennsylvania to spend the rest Steve’s birthday with family. We arrived at Circle M Outdoor World in Lancaster, PA (or close to it, anyway!) We grilled burgers and enjoyed some time outside with Steve’s parents. The campground had lots to offer: playground, swimming pool, hot tub, indoor water park and a walk to the river. It was beautiful while we were there…really, we couldn’t have asked for better weather.

Thanks to Mom and Dad Sensenig for letting us use your washer and dryer and for spending some time with us on Steve’s birthday. We really enjoyed your company.

Hannah and I enjoyed spending time with Janelle and her precious kiddos for most of Friday. It was the first time that we were able to spend unlimited time together and we really had a great time. Can’t wait to make that happen again!! Steve and Dylan visited a friend in Lancaster and  chatted the day away, but they both came back refreshed from that conversation.

Saturday, we invited family over for a cookout at the campground. It was great to see everyone and was especially nice to be able to host. I sincerely hope that they had fun and that we will be able to repeat that again in the future!

I really didn’t take that many pictures. I guess we were just busy living and playing and enjoying ourselves that taking pictures was an afterthought!

On the trip there, we kept ourselves busy with various things:

Hannah creating something new

Hannah creating something new

Our morning smoothie...we are putting the VitaMix to good use, Nana!!

Our morning smoothie…we are putting the VitaMix to good use, Nana!!

Finished products of Hannah's artwork

Finished products of Hannah’s artwork

The cookbooks that we love!

The cookbooks that we love!

Mom and Dad Sensenig's back yard

Mom and Dad Sensenig’s back yard

Beautiful blossoms...Hannah desperately wanted to touch and smell :)

Beautiful blossoms…Hannah desperately wanted to touch and smell 🙂

The world is her playground :)

The world is her playground 🙂

Playing with shadows

Playing with shadows

At the water park

At the water park

Our birthday cake!

Our birthday cake!

Thanks for reading and looking at our journey to Pennsylvania!

Beauty and Blessing Awaits,

Christy

A Catch Up Post

One thing that is somewhat challenging to do is document everything we do, in succession. We are so busy living our life, that sometimes I forget that weeks have passed since I’ve updated the blog. I think about it, I just don’t have the time to write it all down. But right now, I have a few minutes while Hannah is occupied to update you all, so I’m going to try to cram it all in one post….hope you don’t mind!

When we left you last, we were in St. Augustine and enjoying our one time of seeing the beach in the state of Florida. After we left that area, we landed in South Carolina for a few days and stayed at The Oaks at Point South in Yemassee. The campground was small, but a nice wooded setting that gave us a place to relax until our next destination.

The lake that was within walking distance from our campsite

The lake that was within walking distance from our campsite

Our next stop was in Advance, NC at Forest Lake RV Park. When we arrived, it was quite chilly, compared to what we had experienced in Florida. We stayed there for 10 days and were able to get our car (thanks to my mom for driving from Boone to pick us up!), enjoyed a visit with a dear friend that lives in Winston-Salem, visited with our new friends, The Picketts, and celebrated Easter, complete with an egg hunt and dance party! It was a beautiful park, so serene and peaceful.

The beach was located near our site and Hannah loved going near the water!

The beach was located near our site and Hannah loved going near the water!

Outside a restaurant in downtown Winston-Salem with my dear friend, Meg

Outside a restaurant in downtown Winston-Salem with my dear friend, Meg

The Easter Egg Hunt

The Easter Egg Hunt

Hannah joining in the group dance...she danced ALL NIGHT!

Hannah joining in the group dance…she danced ALL NIGHT!

New Easter Bunny, named Cotton Candy

New Easter Bunny, named Cotton Candy

I realized I didn’t get a pic of the car….I hope to snap a pic soon and update our new look, with the car!

After leaving Forest Lake, our next stop was Bluff City, TN, at Lakeview RV Park, which we stayed in for 3 weeks. A very nice location, close to 2 larger cities and easy access to just about anything we need. Lots of things we’ve been able to do while we were in Bluff City: meet with friends at the park and at the playground, visit a local farm for a kids day, visit the same local farm for a dinner of locally grown food (this one was for the adults!), visit the local library multiple times and various other outings. While we are in Bluff City, Steve will be working at Emory and Henry College and at Barter Theatre. I am also doing some part time work for Attachment Parenting International, which I am super excited about. It’s just a part time gig, but it is with an organization that I believe in completely plus I’m helping out a friend in the process, so it’s all a very good thing!

A view of the lake at sunset

A view of the lake at sunset

Our home :)

Our home 🙂

Hannah reading about her favorite topic, Cats!

Hannah reading about her favorite topic, Cats!

We had an opportunity to visit with some friends that were staying in Forest Lake this past Sunday, so we took advantage of a few days off and went back to the campground that we stayed at previously. We were amazed at how green everything had become in just 3 weeks! It was beautiful. We enjoyed grilling out, nature walks and Hannah excitedly enjoyed having her friend over for a sleepover. It was a fun, fun time!!

Hannah and Danielle with their Bella Sara pajamas and teddy bears

Hannah and Danielle with their Bella Sara pajamas and teddy bears

So, after leaving Forest Lakes today and heading toward Bluff City, we had an interesting, never happened before experience….apparently sometime today when we were pulling the slides in for our departure, a little friend decided to join us. A bat. Yes, a bat was trapped inside our RV while we were driving down the road. After Dylan came bolting up to the front of the RV and we stopped to call animal control….and waited an hour for them to find it, we were able to continue our journey. Sadly, I did not get any pictures of this experience, so you’ll just have to take my word for it!

We are now settled back in to our spot in Bluff City, where we will be for another week before we take another short trip. Unfortunately, Steve had to rush into work this evening, but I am sure once we are all together this evening, we will sleep very, very well.

Beauty and Blessing Awaits,

Christy

April 08, 2013

St. Augustine

One of the things that we definitely wanted to do when we left Florida was head to the beach, which actually helped us decide which route to take to NC. We decided to land in St. Augustine for one night, so we could experience at least one trip to the ocean before leaving Florida…still very hard to believe that we were there for 2 months before we saw the ocean!

We researched a few places to stay, but needed a place that was very close to the ocean, as in walking distance, since we did not have our car with us at the time. So, we settled on Bryn Mawr Ocean Resort in St. Augustine, FL. We were able to walk to beach upon arriving that evening and also returned again to see the sunrise, the next morning…and if it hadn’t been for the storm clouds in the way, we would have!

Dylan and Hannah enjoying the beach

Dylan and Hannah enjoying the beach

The parents :)

The parents 🙂

Mama and D

Mama and D

Hannah quickly found a friend

Hannah quickly found a friend

It was a little bit windy...

It was a little bit windy…

Sunrise behind the clouds

Sunrise behind the clouds

I had a friend watching the sunrise with me :)

I had a friend watching the sunrise with me 🙂

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View of the storm clouds moving in

View of the storm clouds moving in

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Later that morning, we left St. Augustine to arrive at our next destination in SC. As we drove through, I spotted a few views from the RV window that I had wished we had the time to stop and explore, but definitely making a note of places to visit in the future!

St. Augustine Lighthouse

St. Augustine Lighthouse

The City of St. Augustine

The City of St. Augustine

Castillo de San Marcos National Monument

Castillo de San Marcos National Monument

And…it’s always nice to end a post with a smile of a very happy girl 🙂

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Beauty and Blessing Awaits,

Christy

 

March 18, 2013

Leaving Our Little Community

We watched more friends drive away today. After they drove away, the tears came. No warning really, it just happened. Not knowing when we would see them again just really hit me…I turned around and the spot where their rig was parked was empty. I couldn’t leave it. I just wanted to sit there, like we had been just an hour before, chatting over coffee and loving the sense of community that existed between us.

Other sweet families offering us rides and trips to local parks or wherever we needed to go….family.

This evening, we were invited to have dinner with some new friends….and again, just didn’t want to leave. Beautiful families, all enjoying each other with no one left behind that wanted to be part of the group. Everything I long for in community is here, on the road. Seems odd to write that. One would think that you are walking away from it when you travel, but the opposite is true for us.

The only challenge is that the community that you create in that one location is temporary. There is always another location and another opportunity for community awaiting us and we choose to embrace the beauty in that reality. And choose to hold on to the hope that we will see our precious friends and full time families again, somewhere down the road.

Tomorrow we will say goodbye to more friends as we begin our journey north. As I am thinking on this and reflecting on our time here, I wanted to share some photos in beautiful Orlando, Florida.

Sunset from our site

Sunset from our site

Hannah and Steve "working"

Hannah and Steve “working”

Hannah and Tonia with their playdoh animals

Hannah and Tonia with their playdoh animals

Hannah and Kristi in the pool

Hannah and Kristi in the pool

Nearby lake at the campground in Orlando

Nearby lake at the campground in Orlando

The Crane Family

The Crane Family

Another view of the lake

Another view of the lake

Fort Building 101

Fort Building 101

My new little buddy, Alex

My new little buddy, Alex

Hannah and Danielle

Hannah and Danielle

Alex and his daddy, Steve

Alex and his daddy, Steve

Playground fun

Playground fun

90 minutes of jumping at Sky Zone!

90 minutes of jumping at Sky Zone!

Hannah, Danielle and the Perry girls

Hannah, Danielle and the Perry girls

Lots of nights by the campfire!

Lots of nights by the campfire!

Concert with part of the Simpson clan

Concert with part of the Simpson clan

Swimming with Taylor and Danielle

Swimming with Taylor and Danielle

Admittedly, I did not take many pictures during our 4 week stay and these are definitely not in order of occurrence, but you can get an idea of what we have been doing. Most importantly, the smiling faces tell the story.

So long, Orlando. Beautiful memories were made and we will miss you….and all the people that you brought in our path.

Beauty and Blessing Awaits,

Christy

 

March 05, 2013

Refreshment

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one!'”  CS Lewis

We’ve been in Orlando for 3 weeks. This time has been a blessing, but it’s also been a time of reflection.

When we arrived, we had very little resources, but yet it didn’t seem to matter. We were surrounded by the love of friends. We focused on the positive and tried not to worry where those resources would some from. And you know what? They have come exactly when we needed them. So, why worry?

I have also been reflecting on what I have to offer…my family, friends and people that I am surrounded by in a given day, whether it’s online or in person. I spend my days in love with my family and being with them in all that they do. Each person in this family has incredible qualities and I feel so grateful to be able to know them. So I offer them my love, my time, my attention. Is there more I can offer? Is there more I want to learn and grow into? I am reflecting on those questions. They don’t seem as scary as they have felt in the past, the questions. Maybe the answers are different than before. Time will tell…

We’ve watched some precious friends drive away and know that it will be months before we cross paths again. People that we connect with on many levels, understanding each other as traveling families and all that comes with that experience. Connection is an amazing thing. To belong to a group of others walking the same path truly satisfies a deep longing within ourselves. It’s that intense ‘we are family’ connection. But yet the one thing that is difficult, is seeing those connections drive away.

Freedom comes with a price, eh? The sacrifices we make to live simply and love deeply are so worth it. We make a life out of our talents, dreams and skills and they fit around our family, not the other way around.

Things will be different this summer. I’ve been contemplating what it will be like to be back in the work mode, where will have to work around someone else’s schedule, and also away from other full time families. I don’t know how it will feel and I don’t know how I will feel about it all, but I am so thankful for the time that we have had here in Florida and will remain a place of very fond memories.

So, as we continue our time of refreshment, we also look forward to the days ahead, knowing that just around the corner, there is another friend, another connection awaiting us.

Beauty and Blessing Awaits,

Christy

February 18, 2013

Legoland

From the day that we left Williston, during the music camp and the day we were set to leave the music camp, things were really tight for us financially. Actually, that’s an understatement. We were unsure how things were going to turn out for us. We had decided to leave Florida, head toward SC and try to connect with some family there.

Then, we got a call. The call that brings tears to your eyes. The call that reminds you of the unconditional love of friends. The call that said, “please don’t go. We’ll take care of you.” Yep…the love of friends is priceless and we have some really amazing ones. Saying thank you just isn’t enough, but rest assured, we will be looking for those moments that we can return the same generosity back to whoever needs it.

We love you, friends. You know exactly who you are.

One of the joys of this turn of events was being able to tell Hannah, “Yes, you will be going to Legoland with your friends”. The smile on her face was amazing. This girl loves to spend time with friends, like all day long, so seeing her joy was absolutely thrilling!

Friends hanging out with Granny

Friends hanging out with Granny

Daytona International Speedway

Daytona International Speedway

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Miami Beach

NASA

NASA

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Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Washington, DC

Washington, DC

Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty

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Star Wars!

Star Wars!

Darth Vader

Darth Vader

On a Safari

On a Safari

There were so many more opportunities for pics…..long story there, but basically, no camera, had to use phone, bad battery…you get the idea!

One of the highlights…Hannah rode her first roller coaster and LOVED it! All in all, a great time was had by all. A wonderful day planned by some incredible people. A day to remember, for sure.

Beauty and Blessing Awaits,

Christy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 16, 2013

Williston

After our fun time at the Ren Fest, we traveled to Williston (a little town in between Gainesville and Ocala, FL) and stayed at a campground there called Williston Crossings Campground. We saw a great rate online for first time visitors and decided to give it a try. We needed a place to stay for a week until we planned to take Hannah to the music camp in Live Oak, so Williston was our solution.

What a nice campground! Friendly people and a beautiful setting….Steve and I really enjoyed the time there, for sure. Hannah didn’t like it as much because during our entire week there, no children could be found. Lots and lots of dogs, but no kids. But we managed to have a nice relaxing week anyway. We took lots of walks and met lots of dogs!

Dreamcatcher made  out of some twigs we found on one of our walks

Dreamcatcher made out of some twigs we found on one of our walks

 

Hannah's drawing of "a fish swimming on a sunny day"

Hannah’s drawing of “a fish swimming on a sunny day”

A nice man offered to take our picture :)

A nice man offered to take our picture 🙂

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Peek a boo!

Peek a boo!

Old train at the campground site

Old train at the campground site

You can take the girl out of the country...

You can take the girl out of the country…

Indoor puzzle time

Indoor puzzle time

This archway was right behind our site...Hannah loved to stand under it

This archway was right behind our site…Hannah loved to stand under it

Just a short walk took us to a view of a nearby lake

Just a short walk took us to a view of a nearby lake

My little nature girl...she loves to smell flowers!

My little nature girl…she loves to smell flowers!

This waterwheel was located between the pool and the pavilion

This waterwheel was located between the pool and the pavilion

I am so in love with this picture!

I am so in love with this picture!

I was able to finish some earrings that I had been working on for a few weeks

I was able to finish some earrings that I had been working on for a few weeks

Our girl loves her trucks :)

Our girl loves her trucks 🙂

Lots of rocks to climb around the campground

Lots of rocks to climb around the campground

On our last day, it rained and this is what our little free spirit wanted to do...

On our last day, it rained and this is what our little free spirit wanted to do…

So, there’s our week in Williston, in a nutshell. I would highly recommend this campground to anyone looking for a nice place to stay. Lots of activities and lots of friendly faces. If only they had a few kids running out and about, it would have been the perfect place for us.

Beauty and Blessing Awaits,

Christy