The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway?

*disclaimer: this was written a few weeks ago. I just forgot to publish it*
I can remember back in college when a big freeze was “plaguing” Texas, and the local news channel announced that we should take proper freeze precautions. My roommates and I, having no clue what that meant, attempted to prepare our little house in case a pipe should freeze. I believe we wrapped a kitchen towel around the outdoor hose faucet and called it a day. I mean, do pipes really even freeze?

The answer is yes. Yes, they really will freeze. And we have learned that lesson the hard way here in Oklahoma. As I write this, I am currently sitting in a trailer without any source of running water because…you guessed it…our pipes are frozen solid. No, it’s not as fun as it sounds.

Hayden and I really did give our best shot at winterizing the trailer. We bought hose insulation a few months ago and wrapped our pipes in it using electric tape. I mean, I thought it looked almost professional in my humble opinion. Sure, we could have dished out a few hundred dollars and bought the fancy electric-heated hose, but we went the DIY route instead. Oklahoma gets cold, but it’s still the south right? Surely the $3 insulation should be enough.

Wrong.

So here I sit, with gross dirty dishes in the sink and no way to clean them, wishing Hayden and I had remembered to turn on a faucet last night before going to bed. Oops.

Truthfully the first time this happened was a few days ago. When Hayden got up around 4:45 to leave for PT, the faucet wouldn’t turn on. By the time I woke up a few hours later, though, it had already thawed out. This time around, I’m not quite as lucky. It’s around noon, and the temperature still hasn’t gotten above 25. So we wait….

The plus side to these freezing temperatures is that I got my wish! Hayden and I have somehow had to travel and coincidentally missed every Lawton snow day thus far, but last Saturday my dreams came true. We woke up and opened the windows and lo and behold! SNOW!


  

Yes, yes I know it doesn’t look like much. But we spent our entire Saturday morning outside with the pups, playing in the snow like the big kids we are. Granted, some of our snowballs also had chunks of grass mixed in, but we made do with what we had. It’s all about those simple joys in life, right?

Also, good news, the faucets are starting to make a funky sound as I write this, so I think our water is thawing and about to come on again! Praise the Lord. Note to self, don’t let them freeze again. But hey, at least I got another life lesson crossed off the list. Next please!

Cash and Copper’s Morning Business

If there is one thing I highly dislike about my morning ritual, it is taking Cash and Copper out to potty in the morning. There’s just something about wrestling 2 overly excited dogs onto a leash and trying to keep them from yanking me down the steps while simultaneously trying to keep the door from catching the wind and ripping my arm out of socket all before having a cup of coffee that makes this chore rather unpleasant. Not to mention that I bundle myself in ski gear to keep from freezing to death. Oh how I miss the days of having a backyard. The days when you could just open a back door and watch your dogs do their business from the comforts of your own heated home. Those were the good ole days. 

Truthfully, if Copper were the only dog in the picture, this task would be monumentally easier. Copper is my very special rescue dog from College Station. I adopted him in 2012 and I tell people all the time that from the time he was a small puppy, he was an “old soul”. He is a gentle giant with odd and endearing tendencies. He is also perfect. Or was perfect. There was a day that I had complete command over him with just my voice. He wouldn’t dare do something if I raised my voice. His sweet temperament and probably his rescue background made him the perfect dog who stayed quietly by my side. That is until Cash came into the picture.

Cash the Corgi is the exact opposite of Copper. Spirited and independent and fearless, this puppy has given us a run for our money. He is the most adorable, furry devil-child who will stare at you with a sparkle in his eye as you yell NO! at him and he does it anyway. Of course then he will come running over with the biggest puppy eyes of love and try to snuggle you out of your anger…which usually works. You can’t stay angry at a little dog with stubby legs who wants to cuddle at any given chance. I love that puppy too much. 

Anyway, put them together and they are a dynamic duo. And a handful to walk in the freezing early hours of the morning. 

You may remember a previous post in which I mentioned a field we let them run in. That is no longer the case. After a very awkward encounter with the man who owns the field, I no longer even look in that direction much less take my dogs. We have opted instead for a small “field” on the other side of the RV park. For a time, I used to let both dogs off leash for a bit as they did their business and played. That is no longer the case either. 

One particularly cold morning, the dogs were extra frisky. When temperatures suddenly drop, I have realized animals seem to get hyped. Both Cash and Copper were so eager to frolic, I thought letting them run out their energy would be a good idea. Little did I know…

This particular field has a barn/storage unit bordering one side. If you walk around the back of the barn, there is a horse pen on the other side. Usually the dogs stay in the wide open field to run around, but this particular morning, I lost sight of them within minutes as they took off around the side of the barn. Immediately I took off in a sprint, calling for them to come back. But it was too late. By the time I turned the corner to the back side, the worst case scenario had happened. Cash was wriggling his way under the fence of the horse pen before I could grab him.

I watched in horror as he took off for the horses. Apparently Corgis are instinctually herding dogs, and Cash was getting in touch with his herding side. He darted straight for the horses ankles and began playfully nipping and then jumping back and then charging them again. 

Not having any background with farm animals, I had absolutely no clue what to do. As much as I wanted to climb over the fence into the corral, I also had no idea how the horses may react to me. Do horses ever attack people? I’m not entirely sure but I didn’t want to find out. I figured a better idea would be to stick my head under the fence and try to coax Cash back to me. It was quickly apparent that he had no interest in coming back because running between the horses feet was much more fun. 

I started panicking. My little puppy was surely about to die from 3-4 horses trampling him. I don’t often pray for my dogs but I immediately began praying for God to spare his life. And in desperation, I began running around in the mud on the other side of the fence, hoping Copper and I looked like we were having more fun and Cash would be tempted to come back and join us.

What a sight that must have been. 

Within probably 15 minutes, Cash decided he was done with the horses and wriggled his way back under the pen and out to us. I nearly tackled him to get his leash clipped to his collar. My hands were so numb at this point, it probably took another 5 minutes just to open the clasp. With a mixture of exasperation and relief, I dragged that sweet, fearless, terrible puppy back to the trailer and vowed to never let him off leash again. 

Thus concludes reasons why taking the dogs out to potty in the morning isn’t very fun when you live in a trailer. Oh how I miss a backyard.

  

New Year, Same Trailer

Hayden and I are currently in the car driving home for Christmas as I write this post. This gives me around 7 hours to reflect on the last 3 months of our life, as we end 2015 in a place I never imagined we would be or could be. As the year wraps up, I once again marvel at the crazy direction God has taken our lives. I can still remember very clearly the moment Hayden suggested we actually live in a trailer when we move to Oklahoma. I laughed at first because the idea was obviously ridiculous and never going to happen. Then I argued and whined when I realized he was serious.  And then slowly it grew on me more and more until excitement set in. Now here we are!

(Also, update….I’m not actually in the car driving home for Christmas. We are now back in Lawton after a wonderful 10 day break with our families. I never got around to writing over Christmas break, so I’m continuing where I left off. Just wanted to clarify. )

So what’s new in our lives? I’m glad you asked. First and foremost, I have started working as a substitute teacher in Lawton. Though I only got started right before Christmas break, I loved the couple of days I spent in the classroom and can’t wait to continue through the spring semester. Each day brings something different and challenging and I love that. Who knows…maybe when we get settled somewhere long enough, I’ll have a classroom of my own. “Mrs. McGhee: Fifth Grade Teacher” has a nice ring to it. Or fourth grade. Or third. You get the idea.

Also, we managed to miss some big Oklahoma freezes over the holidays, but we are gearing up for some serious winter temps in the near future. We dipped into the upper teens right before we left and I hear the coldest time of year is typically January to February…so please keep our bodily temperatures in your prayers. It gets a little chilly when you live in a metal box. Praise the Lord we restocked our propane supply. 

Much to my delight, there was actually snow on the ground when we pulled up to the trailer last night. Of course, it was only on the sides of the road and in random places where the sun hadn’t melted it already, but it was a wonderful “welcome home” surprise nonetheless. I’ve been hoping to wake up one morning and find the ground covered in beautiful, white snow. (Preferably on a Saturday when we can just play in it rather than scrape our cars and rush to work…but I’ll take what I can get) I love snow. Let me repeat…I love snow. That is part of the reason Hayden and I honeymooned in the mountains rather than on some warm, sandy beach. Snow is just so much more magical and exciting.

Also, it’s my dream to watch our dogs frolic in a winter wonderland. There is nothing cuter on this earth than Corgis playing in snow. Just saying….

Hayden and I have also started some New Years resolutions of sorts, primarily in the area of finances. After spending too much on Christmas (a common newlywed mistake I’m assuming since you double the amount of family members to buy gifts for) and then realizing we only have 3 more months of trailer living, we have decided to use the rest of our days in Oklahoma to save up as much money as possible. We sat down and wrote out a budget for the very first time and made a detailed 3 month plan. Yes, I realize this is probably something we should have done upon getting married because that is what responsible adults do. But we didn’t. And even though we had no financial problems that we ran into this last year, 2016 is the year Hayden and I will become uber responsible and organized with our finances. This adult life thing just got so much more real, and I’m strangely excited about our new budget. By April, this trailer experience will have paid off…literally.

It’s crazy how short our remaining time feels with everything written out. We are halfway through this whole experience, and I know that in the blink of an eye, we will be back in Texas with our trailer blazing adventures behind us. Truthfully, the thought of that makes me sad. I’m not sure if I’m ready to get back to “normal” life. Everything is just so simple when you live in a trailer. We have only what we need, and although clutter sometimes happens when we don’t keep things put away, we aren’t bogged down by all the stuff like we used to be. I’m actually dreading that day when we open up the door to our storage unit in Rockport and have to unpack it all somewhere. Now that I’ve been living like a minimalist of sorts, the thought of going back to all the possessions and things we have seems daunting. I am now a believer in the minimalist movement. Although my version is still full of so much more stuff than the true minimalists, I can attest to the fact that living with less is so much happier

Hayden and I have so much more than we need. Living in a trailer has taught me what I can happily live without. I remember being so sad about packing away all our dishes and platters and pretty things for entertaining. I actually shed a few tears about all the wonderful wedding gifts I wouldn’t get to bring with me, and I definitely cried at the idea of not having a “home” to make. 

As a new wife, creating our home was something I felt was my duty and something I wanted to put time and energy into. It was hard giving that up, and part of the reason I fought living in a trailer for some time. But as more and more time passes, this trailer doesn’t feel any less like “home” despite its tiny size. I may not have a dining room table to set, and decorative accents all over. I may not have an area to entertain or space to host people. But our little trailer has been filled with laughter and love and memories. It has even been filled with guests and dinners at our little table. We have had cookouts and conversations around the firepit and good times with good friends. I’m not missing anything at all actually. Sure, it’ll be nice when we have a real home to open to friends and family. I’m excited to finally start using the adorable dishes I picked out on my wedding registry. And I am dreaming about my inner Joanna Gaines that I’ll get to bring out once I’m back in an actual house. (Hopefully HGTV will have a Fixer Upper marathon that I can binge watch for inspiration)

But at the end of the day, I’m going to miss this little trailer we get to call home for the next 3 months. I never thought I’d be ending the year where we are, and I am absolutely sure that 2016 will bring just as many exciting twists and turns. I am so thankful for our current chapter in life and will cherish the memories made in our humble home on wheels. I look forward to all the lessons and experiences we have left as we continue trailerblazing into this year. And as always, I look forward to sharing everything with you through this blog. Thank you for reading and being part of our lives. We love you!

  • H & B

  

 

The Holly, Jolly Trailer

Well the holidays are upon us. It’s hard to believe December 1st is already here, but then again, I say that every year, so maybe it’s time to just get used to the fact that time flies by. Like really really fast. And it’s not slowing down anytime soon so I better cherish each moment as they come.

So in the spirit of Christmas, I decided to decorate our little trailer for the holidays. Of course, Christmas decorations did not make the cut for things we were bringing along with us in the trailer, so every holiday item I own happens to be packed away neatly in a storage unit in south Texas. Bummer.

The good news is that I live in a town with a Hobby Lobby! And lo and behold, when I walked in the other day to purchase a few festive items, I discovered that all Christmas decor was 50% off! I could hardly contain my joy as I gladly took advantage of Hobby Lobby’s offer. Or rather, Hobby Lobby took advantage of me. I ended up walking out with double the decorations I originally planned. But hey, you can never have too many Christmas decorations, right?

So my finished product may not be anything spectacular. After all, I have limited space and limited supplies. However, in my humble opinion, I believe our trailer has successfully gotten into the holiday spirit.

 

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It may not be much, but it does the trick! Technically we have Christmas lights hung outside too, but the outdoor breaker is bad so they don’t light up. Hoping to get that fixed sooner or later. (probably later because Hayden and I both tend to be procrastinators about these things) For now, Christmas in our holly, jolly trailer remains a work in progress. Tis the season!

Speaking of seasons and holidays, I want to back track for a second and mention my Thanksgiving food preparations from last week. Our friends Sheamus and Alex were not able to go home for Thanksgiving so I decided I would make them each a traditional Turkey Day dish, which ended up being Green Bean Casserole and Stuffing. Not only was this my first time ever to cook these foods, but I was also forced to attempt them without the use of a stove top or oven! (Remember how we ran out of propane? Yeah, we still haven’t gotten more) So how do you prepare green bean casserole and stuffing without an oven or range? A crockpot of course! 

With the help of Pinterest, I found slowcooker recipes for both and couldn’t wait to give it a shot. The green bean casserole was particularly simple. 

  • 2 cans cream of mushroom soup
  • Half cup of milk
  • 6 cans of cut green beans
  • 1 canister of French’s Fried Onions
  • Pepper

  
Throw it all into a crockpot for 2.5 hours on High and there you have it! Green bean casserole. (Don’t judge it based on the poor picture quality)

  

I also found some slowcooker recipes for stuffing on Pinterest, however, I am a huge fan of my mom’s cornbread stuffing and refused to make anything other than her recipe. The only problem was that one main ingredient…cornbread. How do I make cornbread without an oven? My only tool was a crockpot, so it was either that or nothing. I decided to give it a try.

Cornbread in a crockpot turned out to be delightfully easy! I used Jiffy corn muffin mix, followed the directions on the box, and poured the batter into my crockpot. Following directions I found on Google, I cooked the cornbread on high for 1 hour. It still wasn’t totally done after one hour so I kept it going another 45 minutes or so until it turned a nice golden color. Because I use plastic liners, I just pulled the whole thing out and set it aside while I prepared the ingredients for the stuffing. 

  • 2.5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 bag Pepperidge farm herb seasoned stuffing mix
  • Chopped celery
  • Chopped onion
  • 2 eggs
  • Butter
  • Salt, pepper and sage

Inside the crockpot, I crumbled the cornbread I had just made and added the bag of Pepperidge Farm herb seasoned mix. Then I added the celery and onion  (Instead of chopping an onion and celery, I just bought a pre-chopped bag of both) The only butter I had was the spreadable kind in the plastic container, so I just scooped some out with my cup measure into a bowl (probably around 2/3 cup) and melted it in the microwave. I then poured the butter over the mixture and added the 2.5 cups of chicken stock as well as 2 beaten eggs. Then I just sprinkled some salt and pepper in, and generously added sage. After stirring and mixing the whole thing, I turned the crockpot on high and let it cook for 1 hour. After that hour, I turned it down to Low and cooked another 3-4 hours, hoping for the best.

The result? A fabulously moist stuffing. I apologize for forgetting to take pictures of the finished product! From my taste test, I think it was a pretty decent rendition of my mother’s classic, but you’ll have to ask Sheamus and Alex if it was any good. Either way, it was worth the mouthwatering aromas that filled our little trailer. I’m also very excited to know that I can make just about anything in my little slowcooker. I had no idea! Who needs propane when you’ve got a magical crockpot. 

All in all, our little trailer is proving to be the perfect place to gear up for the holidays. Even if a 3 foot tree is all that can fit and our stockings are hung from cabinets. And even if I have to bake Christmas cookies using small square pans (the oven is too small for regular baking sheets). And even if I have nowhere to store or wrap Christmas gifts. Regardless of what we are “missing” compared to most everyone else’s holiday preparations and traditions, I don’t feel lacking in one thing. We’ve got joy. We’ve got love. And we’ve got Jesus. 

I’m pretty sure this will be the merriest Christmas of them all.

 

A Quick Update

First things first…I apologize for the infrequency of my posts. Blogging isn’t quite as easy as I anticipated, and about 90% of the time, I feel like the events of my life aren’t exciting enough to spend time writing about. In fact, I never dreamed I’d have the amount of people as I do visiting my little space in the great, vast cyberworld. At most, I guess 50-100. Never in my wildest dream did I think I’d get into the thousands. I’m shocked and humbled…and if I’m honest…completely intimidated. For the first time, I’m starting to worry if I’m funny enough or entertaining enough or if I’m saying anything worth remembering? That is probably part of the reason I’ve avoided writing at times. I’m insecure that I’ll just waste your time.

Thank the good, good Lord that I married Hayden McGhee! When I get into my over-thinking, over-analyzing moods, he pats me on the back and tells me to get over myself! (Usually in a much sweeter way…though sometimes in those exact words) His straight-forward nature completely juxtaposes my overly-complicated perspectives. It makes me fall in love a little more every day with my goofy, simple, cow-loving, adorable husband. He has made this entire experience so much greater than I thought it could be. Not only have we made the best of living in such close quarters, we have actually enjoyed it.

Life is starting to fall into a new rhythm. The tiny shower now feels normal to me. The constant wind gusts shaking the trailer is actually soothing at times. Emptying the waste water tanks is just another routine chore. Funny how those things seemed so foreign at one point! Now it all feels like home. Oh the irony!

I apologize for not keeping you more up to date lately. I debated writing in detail about everything that has happened these last 3 weeks in a really long post. I have since changed my mind.  Instead, you are about to be caught up on our lives via nutshell. So without further ado, let us dive right in to the very quick update about our last couple of weeks.

First, if you haven’t already seen on my Instagram or Facebook, I randomly decided to dye my hair brown. Totally on a whim, I bought a box of Loreal dark brown hair coloring and just went with it. Part of me figured this would help save money because highlights cost about an arm and a leg, and I figured it would fade after a few weeks and give me a nice natural-looking dark blonde. (that is my natural hair color after all.) But did that happen?

Nope.

We are 3 weeks in and my hair is still a very dark brown. So in case anyone is wondering if permanent really means permanent on the side of the box…the answer is yes. You live and you learn, right?

The same week I dyed my hair, Hayden and I also decided to see the top of Mount Scott for the first time.

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(thank you google images for this picture)

We live right across the lake from this nice little “mountain” and have heard that it was worth the trip to the top. So one Sunday afternoon, we decided to load up the puppies in the car and take the scenic drive through the Wichita Wildlife refuge and see it for ourselves. Needless to say, Mount Scott was a surprising little treasure and I’m very glad we went.

 

  
  

Though my heart still belongs to Texas, I’ll admit that Oklahoma has surprised me in the best way. It has its own charm and quirks that are unlike anywhere else I’ve been. And something about the landscape makes you want to roam with the Buffaloes. Or maybe that’s just me. But when there is a huge buffalo statue on the corner of every street, I can imagine I’m not alone here.

On a totally different note, it has been brought to my attention that I have not mentioned the friends we’ve made while we’ve been here. Two in particular have become part of our travel trailer adventures.  Seamus (pronounced SHAY-mus) and Alex. Seamus is from New Hampshire and is our first true Hockey-loving, Irish friend. Go Bruins? And Alex is from Arkansas, and the only Razorback I know who didn’t go to football games. And he has a dog named Simba, which is cool. They joked with me about not being mentioned in the blog yet, so there you go boys! The two of them have become almost permanent fixtures in our trailer and dubbed us all “Team Trailerhood.” And since we are a team now, they have become the biggest help in all our trailer projects. Particularly the day we decided to move into a different slot that had a better view. Our new slot had the water and electric hookups on the opposite side, meaning we had to run our hoses under the length of our trailer. Sadly we were just a hair short, so Seamus, Alex, Hayden and I made a group outing to the local RV supply store and Home Depot for hose attachments and other supplies. In addition to helping us get our trailer set up and situated, they also helped Hayden begin the process of winterizing our home. (I’ll explain winterizing another day)  I must say how incredibly thankful I am that Hayden has some extra help when it comes to trailer-improvement projects, because Lord knows I’m worthless when it comes to that.  We are blessed to have found such good and helpful friends.

In addition to brown hair, Mount Scott, and new friends, we have also experienced our first round of Tornado warnings, accidentally filled up the trailer with smoke from our fire pit outside, hung Christmas lights around our little covered deck, had a handyman come fix our electric water heater, run out of propane, had a leak in our air conditioner, and accidentally let the temperature inside our trailer get down to 43 degrees one night (which is what happens if you don’t turn on the heater during a cold front). I really don’t recommend that last part. Waking up in the morning to a room only 11 degrees above freezing isn’t very fun. Thank you Jesus for space heaters. And big blankets. And propane when available. I had no idea how cold a trailer could get, so we will really have to make the necessary preparations to avoid becoming popsicles. After all, winter is coming. (Game of thrones, anyone?)

I’ll conclude the quick update here because everything else worth saying will be in a blog post of its own. As always, thank you for looking into our life and caring enough to follow our adventures. I’m so excited to share everything that is to come, but I hope this brief nutshell was enough to hold you over for now! Love you all.

  • H & B

The Highly Anticipated, Inside Look at Our Trailer

It has been brought to my attention that my blog, thus far, has been lacking in pictures. Particularly, pictures of the actual trailer I’ve been talking so much about. This may be on account of me shattering my poor little iPhone and not having a working camera anymore. Sad day.

The good news is that Hayden bought me a fancy camera for my birthday. I’m still in the process of learning how to take good/artsy shots, but at least I’ve got the basics down. So, without further ado, let me present our little home-on-wheels to you like you’ve never seen before!

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So as soon as you open the door, this is the view. (Typically with two very happy dogs coming to greet you)

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(Please disregard the gun in the corner. I forgot to move it for the sake of these pictures…)

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Yes, our table has a dog kennel underneath it. Please contact me if you can think of a better place to locate it after seeing these pictures! (I’m only half kidding)

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Our kitchen has a surprising amount of storage. What you can’t see (because they are conveniently located within the cabinets) is that I also brought a full size blender, a crock pot, a set of dishes, coffee mugs, tervis tumblers, 2 sauce pans, 1 large frying pan, 2 baking trays, a cutting board, and very little experience cooking. Still working on that last part…

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View from the table. Yes, I attempted to decorate for Fall.

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It really is so well with my soul.

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So we originally weren’t going to bring the little white cabinets but I’m so glad we changed our minds. It fits our printer perfectly despite having to move our chair every time we open it.
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One of my favorite parts of the trailer…the pantry! So far I haven’t even been able to fill it up. I’m amazed at the amount of storage we actually have.

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Left Picture: View from the living room looking into the “hallway”
Right Picture: View from the other side looking out into the living room. Door on the left is our toilet 🙂

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The infamous tiny shower. Yes, the makers of this RV allowed for privacy with a small sliding door. Unless you have a Corgi. Please note, the space under door is just large enough for a Corgi head to watch you.

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The open space you see was once the place our other TV was located. If you’ve read my other blog posts, you will remember that Hayden and I tragically lost this TV as we traveled along a very bumpy road outside College Station. Now we use it for more storage.

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I have been asked where/how I store all my clothes in a trailer. This is how. What you can’t see is that there are shelves in the back left corner of the closet, where I keep my shoes. Boots are underneath the clothes, on the floor. Large jackets and sweaters are under our bed. Yay organization! (Also Hayden’s clothes are on the other side but I can’t take a picture because his may or may not be slightly messy.)

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And thats the end of our trailer tour! Though getting settled has been both fun and challenging, I am absolutely in love with my new home. It may be small and cozy, but it is filled with everything I need and everyone I love. How do we do it? With lots of patience and positivity. I know this is all just temporary, so while we live here, it’s our goal to make it as much of an adventure as we can. And getting to bring your whole house with you wherever you travel is pretty awesome too! So stay tuned for more updates and thank you again for keeping up with us.

  • H & B

Trailer Trash

As I’ve been finding my “blog voice”, I’ve kept my writing lighthearted and comical for the most part. I enjoy writing about the positive, funny things that are going on, and I haven’t concentrated much on anything too heavy or emotional. Not that I’m about to go all dark and philosophical on you right now…but I wanted to write briefly about something I experienced the other morning and have been thinking about the last few days.

The RV park Hayden and I are currently living in is located just north of Lawton, by Lake Lawtonka. Next to us is a wide open field, and not too much further is a nice little housing development. This “neighborhood” consists of about 15-20 newly-built homes that are fairly spread out. Hayden and I walked the dogs over that way one of the first evenings we spent here and really just fell in love with the neighborhood.

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To paint you a mental picture (because I don’t want to be creepy and actually take candid pictures of people’s homes), this neighborhood is essentially the poster child for small-town America. It’s the kind of place where everyone is outside in their yard, playing with the whole family along with their Golden Retriever. Dads come home from work and pack up the stroller and take an evening walk with their wife and toddler. Neighbors are friends with their neighbors, and everyone greets each other as they walk along the sidewalk. I’m not kidding, it is the most stereotypical and wonderful neighborhood I have ever seen.

Fast forward to the other morning. I woke up early, and after a cup of coffee and light breakfast, I decided to take the dogs out. I walked them over to the field first and let them run and play. The morning was so perfect…the kind of crisp, October morning where it was cold in the shade but felt fabulous in the sun…so I decided to take them on a walk/jog through the neighborhood on the other side of the field. As I made my way across the field, I became keenly aware of how obvious it was that I was coming from the RV park.

Hayden and I had taken a walk across the field and over to the neighborhood multiple times at this point. If I had become self-conscious before, it quickly disappeared with Hayden by my side. Being with him gives me more confidence than on my own. He keeps me level headed in situations that I would over-think by myself. If you know me at all, you know I always over-think situations and often worry myself to death for no good reason. This particular morning was no different.

As I made my trek closer and closer to the neighborhood, I began wondering what the residents would say about the folks from the RV park coming over onto their turf. I imagined them being disgusted by the “trailer trash” next door and looking down on us just because we lived in a trailer and not a house. I started to get nervous that I’d be called out. After all, there were about 3 young women I could see already, walking their sidewalks. (I’m not kidding, all of them had strollers and dogs too.) Because there were so few houses in the neighborhood, I figured they recognized most of the people who lived there. I started to feel inferior because I wasn’t actually a resident. I lived on the other side of the field. I was an outsider.

And for the very first time, I was actually ashamed that I lived in a trailer. I started thinking about my appearance and felt myself getting very materialistic. In my head, I started thinking: I’m wearing leggings, a long sleeve Texas A&M t-shirt and a Northface vest, so maybe I look like them, not like our RV park neighbors. Maybe, just maybe, they wouldn’t notice I’m not one of them. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I actually pushed up my sleeves so that my Michael Kors watch was visible. In my mind, I figured people who normally live in trailers can’t afford nice watches, so maybe this would disguise me.

Even as I write this, I’m embarrassed of myself. Except I’m not embarrassed about the trailer part. I’m embarrassed about how much I tried to pretend I was something “superior”. And I realized that even living in a trailer, I still looked down on the people around me…the people who live full-time in trailers and mobile homes. Man, oh man, did the Holy Spirit convict me of this.  I was so ashamed to be associated with my surroundings, I failed to notice how prideful and despicable I was acting.

Once I was in the neighborhood, I saw one of the women walking my way. I immediately began formulating a story in my head, as if she were going to confront me about being there. How would I explain myself? The dialogue in my head went something like this: I’m from Houston. I grew up in the Memorial area. I went to Texas A&M. I was in a sorority. I graduated with a degree from A&M. I’m here because my husband is in the military. He’s a second lieutenant. We are only here for 6 months so we decided to live in the trailer his parents let us borrow. We could buy a house if we wanted to. We are nice, classy people. We aren’t trailer trash! Please approve of us. 

It occurred to me that these things I used as identifiers were also where I found my identity and value.

I truly had an epiphany that morning about how God shows his grace to us. He takes idiots like me, completely blinded by their pride and selfcenteredness, and He patiently shows us truth and attempts to teach us.

The woman did confront me. She complimented my dogs and apologized for how hyper her own dog was acting. When we parted ways I told her to have a wonderful morning and she shouted back “You too, Sweetie!” And for the rest of my walk home, I found myself reflecting on many things and having a funny little talk with God.

You see, people are people regardless of their circumstances and socioeconomic status. There is no such thing as trailer trash because all humans have been given inherent value by their Creator. Are there some odd cookies living in trailers, particularly in our own RV park? Sure. But they are just as deserving of respect and neighborly kindness as anyone else. In fact maybe, just maybe, the Lord has some relationships planned for Hayden and I that cross the barriers our culture has put up. Because we are so much more than just our background. And so is everyone else we live by. So how cool is it that we get to experience such a colorful and diverse accumulation of people during this time. Though I feel more comfortable on the other side of the field with people who look more like me and talk more like me, I am still called to love my neighbors. So thank goodness our God is a patient God. He has His work cut out for Him trying to teach me how to love and serve people. And thank goodness the Holy Spirit will be at work my entire life because that’s how long it will probably take to get me over myself and kill my pride. This is why I have to constantly fight to surrender daily to Christ. And when I say fight, I really mean fight. About 99% of the time, I want to be in charge of me. And a good portion of the time, I do let myself take control. But when this happens, chaos and anxiety always ensue. I’d much rather the Lord be in the driver’s seat. When He is in control, there is no such thing as “trailer trash” and unworthy people. We are cherished in our Father’s eyes. And loved. And redeemed. And called by name. And we are so much more than the kind of watch we wear, the car we drive, the place we take residence, and the number in our bank account. We become sons and daughters of the Almighty God and coheirs with Christ.

So yeah, God wins again.

-B

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11 Things I’ve Learned Living in Our Trailer 11 Days

Hello friends.

Before I do anything else, I want to begin by thanking all of you so much. I had no idea my first blog post would receive the responses that it did, and the encouragement and support you have given Hayden and me has been unparalleled. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for going on this journey with us. We feel truly blessed.

And now for the trailer…

As of last Saturday (a week ago), we are officially moved in to our humble home on wheels. We rolled into College Station early Saturday morning and set up shop to tailgate for some Aggie football. After a very sad loss to Bama that we won’t talk about further, Hayden and I decided to stick around for a few more days at a nice little RV park. We then ventured to Dallas, getting stuck in the Corsicana floods along the way (which caused us to sleep in an HEB parking lot…more on that later) and finally, only 48 hours ago, we made it all the way to our new home in Lawton, OK. So much has happened in the last 2 weeks that I can hardly figure out a good way to fit it all into one blog post.  Every little mishap and adventure we’ve had thus far would take me way too long to write about and take you way too long to read about.

So for now, I’ll stick with the 11 things I’ve learned so far, living in our trailer for 11 days:

1. There will always be bumps in the road. Literally and figuratively. Also, not all roads are equal, specifically the difference between Texas interstates/toll roads and Oklahoma turnpikes. (for the record, I prefer to call them toll roads. What the heck is a turnpike?) Texas wins for better roads. Except for that one backroad Hayden decided to take leaving College Station. Note to self, never ever drive OSR in an RV. Otherwise you will open your trailer door to a lovely surprise mess because of said bumps. But there are also going to be bumps in the road in other ways. No matter how much planning and preparation you put in, something will go wrong and something unexpected will happen. I’m not the best at handling the unexpected, but I’m learning, and that has to count for something. The bumps in the road are all part of the journey…just make sure to secure your belongings inside the trailer.

And on that note….

2. When traveling, secure everything you possibly can. If it can fall, it will fall. Including televisions that haven’t been bolted into the wall. Hayden and I learned this the hard way, arriving in Oklahoma to a very broken TV screen. (Also if my mother and father in-law are reading this, it was our TV, not yours. Don’t worry!)

3. RVs require special toilet paper. Luckily we didn’t learn this the hard way. But it’s true…no more Charmin Ultra for Hayden and I.

4. When it rains, it pours. And when the wind blows, it howls. At least that’s how it sounds when you are asleep in a camper. I woke up this morning thinking a tornado was barreling towards us because of the way the wind sounded whipping around our trailer. Yes, wind gusts shake the trailer. No, you won’t blow over with normal wind gusts. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure what kind of force would actually blow our trailer over, but I’m going to continue praying I never find that out. For now, all I need to know is that normal weather is not going to be a problem. And if you like the way rain sounds, I highly suggest staying in a trailer during your next rain shower.

5. If I want hot water, I have to remember to turn on the propane heater. No more instant hot water. It is what it is. I typically don’t get too far into my shower before I realize the water isn’t about to warm up on its own. So then I get out, dry off, flip a switch, and wait 5-10 more minutes. Luckily I have a husband who reminds me whenever he’s around. Until my brain catches up with his, I’m thinking a sticky note reminder on the shower door would be helpful.

6. Shaving your legs in a travel trailer shower is…different. I don’t intend on telling you too much about how I shave my legs but I will say that I’m starting to get more creative in the way I go about it. Trying to do it the way I used to resulted in my butt pushing open the shower door mid-shave, so yeah….I’m having to relearn the art of leg shaving.

7. Showers in general are different. Water pressure is next to none, and both Hayden and I are taller than the nozzle itself. Basically, the days of standing in the shower and just letting the water wash you off are over. Hand-held shower heads for the win.

8. You have to empty the waste water tank. I think somewhere inside I knew this, I just didn’t want to think about it. The RV industry has made this task minimally better by fancy sewer pipe and valve things, but at the end of the day, you still have to do it. And while in my head I told myself that I would never be the one dealing with waste water because I believe in gender roles and thought this was Hayden’s job… the truth is that we are a team. And teammates don’t let teammates fix clogged sewage alone. So yes, I, Brooke McGhee, have helped my husband in this department. And with a whole can of Febreze, you can do just about anything.

9. Sitting outside becomes a way of life when you live in a trailer. If you know me, you know I love rocking chairs and porch swings. Though I have no porch to swing under, I do have an awning, an outdoor mat, 2 folding chairs, and a beautiful landscape to sit and admire whenever I open the front door. Hayden and I have made a habit of spending our entire evening sitting outside with the dogs and letting them roam and play in the grass while we just soak in the simple beauty of Mother Nature. And by Mother Nature, I mean God’s incredible design and the beauty of wide open fields and rolling hills.  And I’m learning that worship doesn’t have to be loud songs and raising your hands up in the air hallelujah-style. Worship can be silently soaking in the glory of God’s creation. Worship can be closing your eyes and feeling the sun on your face and delighting in it. Thinking about worship in this way, I have a feeling these next 6 months will be very worshipful months for Hayden and I.

10. My husband is a saint. From the very beginning of this journey I have learned just how amazing he is. During the 72 hours we spent packing and moving everything we own, I had a few small meltdowns I’m not proud of. Partly from exhaustion and partly from stress, I had some moments where all I wanted to do was sit and whine. And cry. And sleep. And complain. And even those adjectives are making me sound nicer than I was. So I am now nominating Hayden McGhee for the husband of the year award because he dealt with my crazy, moody, pathetic moments and made sure we got done what needed to be done. He was patient and sweet when he needed to be, and he was motivating and firm when I needed someone to snap me out of myself. From then on, Hayden has continued to be my rock and my shoulder to lean on. Through broken TVs and Texas flood fiascos that trapped us on I-45 for 8 hours, through sleeping in an HEB parking lot and opening the door to find our closets had fallen apart and our clothes were all over the trailer, through rain and wind and hot and cold, he’s been the most patient, supportive and loving person. And I am so thankful to be his wife.

11. Last but not least, I have learned in these last 11 days that God is so faithful and we are blessed beyond belief. I think this speaks for itself but I will elaborate. As I have sat down and written this blog post, I have realized something beyond silly little facts about life in a trailer. I’ve realized that my problems and inconveniences are, in fact, silly. The fact that one of the hardest things I am currently facing is that my shower head only reaches to my neck means that I am one of the most fortunate people on this earth. Somewhere inside I think all of us know this. We’ve all heard “there are starving children in Africa, so be grateful” but I think we rarely take that to heart in our day to day lives. Yes, I should have a heart for the suffering that takes place around the world, but at the same time, I shouldn’t be ashamed that I’ve been given a life full of opportunity and privilege. I should be thankful. And then more, I should do something with it. I don’t want to waste what the Lord has entrusted to me. He has been so faithful and so loving and showed me so much grace every day of my life. So through it all, I hope I can, in some small way, bring glory to Him.  The Lord has changed our circumstances and brought me into an environment that is unfamiliar. Not only am I living in a trailer for the first time, but I am playing the role of Army wife for the first time too. As Hayden and I venture into this new unknown, it is my prayer that the people we encounter, the friends we make, the struggles and triumphs of each day, and the lessons we learn count for more than just memories and stories. I want to make it all count for something bigger. Something eternal.

Thank you once again for taking the time to be part of our lives and walk this journey with us. Hayden and I are so grateful for the friends and family we have, and we are excited to share this chapter of our lives with anyone and everyone who wants to be part of it. I apologize that the blog updates are coming a little slower than anticipated but as we get into a rhythm, I’m sure it will catch on too. So in the mean time, we love yall and we love hearing from yall, and we can’t wait to see where the Lord takes us.

-H and B

(PS: I will be posting pictures in my next post per many requests I’ve gotten. Once we get it all set up, you will finally be able to see what our humble home on wheels actually looks like!)

What Is Trailerblazing?

Once upon a time, when Hayden and I were not yet married, we passed by a trailer park. Struck with a thought, Hayden proceeded to ask me a question:

“What if we had to live in a trailer park?”

“What if…” I replied. There was just about zero chance of that ever happening. The question seemed pointless.

“Like what if that was our only option? Would you still want to marry me?”

“Of course!”

“Would you be happy with me even if we lived in a trailer?”

At no point in this conversation did I think Hayden was actually suggesting that we live in a trailer one day. It was a purely hypothetical question. We were playing that little game that all couples do and asking “what if” questions to be cute. Thus, appropriate for the circumstances, I responded to him with enthusiasm, and I conjured up images of how sweet our humble life would be. I probably said something along the lines of “I’d be happy anywhere with you, Hayden. I love you regardless of the circumstances.” I played along because that was the cute thing to do. In the moment, it was easy to laugh at what the day-to-day routines and/or struggles might be of living in a trailer. When you are dating, everything seems romantic. Even trailer parks.

In all honesty, I was confident I would never live in a trailer. Ever. In my whole life. Perhaps roadtrip in an RV…but live in a trailer? No. We would start in an apartment or rental and move on to a house … like all the other normal couples. We would follow the same pattern as everyone else in our shoes: graduate, get married, work a few years, buy first house together…the whole shebang. No part of the timeline included living in a trailer. It wasn’t going to happen. I had never even given it a second thought.

Except God, in His infinite love and sense of humor, often shakes things up in my life. Truthfully, He does this to everyone. It’s part of the Christian walk. I shouldn’t be surprised because if you open your Bible at all, you realize the entire thing is filled with stories of people whose lives constantly take a different direction than what they had intended. However, I seem to always forget this fact and become shocked every single time my life takes a detour. Sometimes I really do believe God smiles and chuckles inside when he hears me use the words always and never and this is absolutely my plan. I find when I use these words, often times the exact opposite takes place. So once again, after determining my plans…the joke was on me.

Which brings us to the reason I am writing this blog post today. Drumroll, please.

(insert sound of drums)

Ladies and gentlemen, it is with great excitement and a little bit of nervous laughter that I tell you Hayden and I are officially moving into a trailer. Yes, a trailer. Also known as a camper. The kind that connects to a vehicle. In fact, 1 week from today, we will officially be moved out of our current residence and “moved-in” to our new trailer home. And by moved-in, I mean 90% of our belongings will be packed into a storage unit while the two of us and our two dogs will be living like true minimalists/gypsies in a Recreational Vehicle in the middle of Oklahoma. Real talk.

If you’ve made it this far in the post, you are probably one of our close friends or family who was personally told to read it. Therefore, it would probably be redundant to catch you up on all that has led to this moment. For anyone reading this that may not be one of our obligated friends/family members, there is a chance you know very little about our lives aside from pictures on social media. Or maybe you don’t know us at all. Whatever the case may be, I feel that painting the whole picture for you is necessary for this blog to make any sense. Before I go any further, I want to cover some background, specifically the last 8 months, because keeping up with our trailer adventures won’t make much sense without an understanding of our lives before.  So, in as much of a nutshell as I can fit it into, here is what life for us has looked like since we got married:

Hayden and I were married January 31st and immediately moved to Rockport, Texas. This was the first not normal direction our life took. While the majority of people graduate and get jobs in places like Houston, Dallas, or Austin, we ended up moving to little, bitty Rockport. When I showed up the day after our honeymoon, the only person I knew within a 100 mile radius was my husband. Needless to say, our time in Rockport was full of adjustments. I had considered grad school as an option but put that on hold to work. Except the job market in Rockport isn’t as full of opportunity as I expected. So I spent the first 6 months of marriage working in retail. Though thankful to have a job and excited to do life as a newlywed, I have to admit I often struggled with discontentment. Working in a boutique in a small town on the coast of Texas was not what I had in mind for our first year of marriage. I hate to admit this, but I let myself see the glass half empty much more than I chose to see it as half full. I was frustrated with God for making us live here. I was frustrated that we struggled to find a church. I was frustrated that making friends wasn’t easy. I was frustrated that our apartment only had 2 drawers total in the kitchen and couldn’t even fit our silverware. I was frustrated that I wasn’t using my degree or pursuing a career. I was frustrated that I didn’t have a Target, Chick-Fil-A, or an Apple Store nearby. I was frustrated that Hayden had the weirdest and worst schedule ever and I was often sleeping alone and we never had weekends free together. And then I was frustrated that I was turning into a negative, complaining person.

On a daily basis, the Lord had to convict me of my prideful, entitled, dissatisfied and selfish heart. When they say marriage is about sanctification, I never really understood what that meant. I thought in some vague way the Lord would use my marriage and my husband to make me more like Him? Well now I see how He does it! If there’s one thing every person should know, its that marriage is a mirror. Who you are on the inside, the TRUE you, complete with all the mess and junk and bad habits and baggage and flaws, gets reflected and put on display when you unite yourself with another. This is one of the most beautiful and most painful ways that the Lord sanctifies us as husband and wife. My weaknesses and flaws were given a magnifying glass and I was stunned and ashamed of what I saw. I’m sure I will talk much more about this later, but for now, I’ll give it to you in a nutshell. God did not give me anything I thought I wanted.

For a short amount of time through the summer, Hayden and I thought we may be moving to Houston. Eager to get out, I quit my job and decided to get my teaching certification because I just knew we were supposed to move to Houston and I would teach and life would start going how I wanted. Wrong. No doors opened there. I actually have multiple stories of paths we tried to run down where the Lord slammed the door shut. If I’ve had a conversation with you in the last 3 months, you probably heard me inform you of “our plan” and already know that the plan seemed to change on a weekly basis.  Also during this time, the Army popped back into our lives. (It never really left, but I sort of forgot that Hayden had commissioned as an officer because he was temporarily without a unit and wasn’t going anywhere or discussing it with me. Out of sight, out of mind, right?) We were just doing our civilian-life thing, and in all our plan making, we often left out military duties. However, the amount of time Hayden was allowed between commissioning in May and the required BOLC training was running out. Though flight school was the original plan, the next selection board won’t occur until after his BOLC deadline, forcing him to turn to his other option – Field Artillery school. Looking back, I’m not sure why we put so much effort into making other plans because, at the end of the day, the military would make our plans for us.

So as June turned into July and then to August, and all our efforts to leave Rockport seemed to fail, and I was going on almost 2 months of unemployment, and suddenly we realized Hayden would have to go to field artillery training, something changed inside. For the first time in a long time, I actually felt at peace because I trusted the Lord. I trusted that He knew better than we did. I trusted that He was for our good and that His plan was perfect. No, unemployment and being in limbo wasn’t easy. Many a day it got the best of me. Some days I was overwhelmed with anxiety trying to find a job. Some days I took on big projects to be productive. Some days I binge-watched Netflix. Some days I cried. But then, I trusted God. We trusted God.We embraced not having a clue what our future would hold or where we would be a few months from now. We prayed and we waited and we trusted. And we randomly invested in some screenprinting equipment and I took up a new hobby. I designed and created tees and tanks and baby clothes, and just about 10 days ago, I opened an Etsy store. I had finally reached a place where I was content with all our circumstances and excited to just stay put and make the most of it.

And then BAM! God opened a door. He opened a door for FA school beginning October 29th in Fort Sill, Oklahoma.  So to make a long story short, we suddenly had to scramble to make plans to move. Which brings us to right now.

I have decided that for the sake of time, I will expand on this in a later post. There are many reasons why we have made the decision to borrow Hayden’s parents’ camper and make it our home for the next 6 months in Oklahoma. There are logistical reasons and practical reasons. The amount of money we will be able to save is incredible! But for now I’ll just leave it at the fact that after weighing our options, we have decided to turn a trailer into our home. Going from absolutely never to “lets make a whole blog about our time living in a camper” took about 2 weeks, and now it is October 8th and we are will be driving to Oklahoma in one week and 3 days from now.

Essentially, we have 7 days to pack up our whole lives into storage and figure out what exactly it means to live in a trailer and what that looks like. How do I sort through all of our possessions and choose the absolute necessities? How do I wean myself off of all the stuff I’ve grown attached to? How do I step away from the mainstream and typical path and head down uncharted territory that ISN’T the norm and ISN’T something everyone else is bragging about (or posting pictures of on social media). The prideful, materialistic side of me wants to keep it all hush-hush and act as if I’m above living in a trailer. I want to look like we have it all together and live a Pinterest-worthy life. (Don’t laugh. It’s a real thing when you’ve spent years of your life collecting tidbits and ideas of what your life and house and wedding and marriage is supposed to look like)

But that’s part of the reason I feel a need to blog about this chapter we are about to begin. There is a huge part of me dying to embrace this adventure and actually escape the rat race of life. I want to share this experience with you and share what Hayden and I learn through it (because Lord knows there are some big life lessons I’m about to learn…and probably in the hardest and most humorous ways). I want to begin this journey full of expectation and be intentional about gleaning from each experience. I want to blog about that time Hayden and I moved into a trailer in the middle of Oklahoma with 2 dogs, because when you think about it, this is all very humorous. If anyone is least qualified to do this, it would probably be me. Hayden, on the other hand, seems to thrive in any environment…so stick us in this tiny home-on-wheels together out in the country and we are bound to have many laughs and stories to tell.

In conclusion, Hayden and I are excited for this adventure coming up. We are excited for all that we will experience and learn. We are excited to do something out of the ordinary and meet people we otherwise wouldn’t meet. We are excited to learn more about ourselves and each other through this process. And we are excited to share this trailerblazing chapter in our lives with you. Love you all. And stay tuned for all the stories to come!

  • H & B