Love

I was thinking the other morning about all the people that I truly love and care for, and how often I them them that. Some people I tell all the time, like my amazing wife. For others, it’s been a really long time. So I went through my phone contacts and sent a text to everybody I loved in it. You can’t tell anyone you love them often enough. There are a lot of people that I don’t see often enough to tell them that I love them. One or the other of us has moved or something. There are a lot of people that I moved away from in this last year that I love a whole lot and don’t get a chance to tell them. I also moved closer to others. Anyway, don’t be afraid to tell people you love them. They like to hear it, probably. It’s also nice to be told that you are loved back. So if you get a random call or message from me telling you that I love you, don’t be surprised.

Love, Jacob

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The Training Continues

We’re both out on the road now with our mentors. Jacob left first and then 2 days later they found a lady mentor for me and I headed out. So far it’s pretty good. There’s nothing good about being separated from the one you love for 6 weeks but we’re trying to make the best of it.

Both of our mentors are nice. Jacob’s guy is from South Carolina and has a thick accent. My gal is energetic and patient. She’s a good teacher and likes to listen to music. The other night while I was driving she threw on some music and we both belted out some Alanis Morisette and Journey. It was random but fun. Jacob’s been getting more drive time than I have so he’ll probably be done before me.

So far Jacob’s been to Florida and Georgia. I’ve been to El Paso, and now I’m still here waiting for my mentor’s truck to be out of the shop.

I can’t explain how much I hate being separated from him. All I can say is that I can’t wait to be done with this so we can be together again.

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Hurry Up and Wait!

So we finished our truck driving school and got our CDL’s last Friday. Which was exciting. This week we had three days of orientation before we go out on the road with our mentor’s. After four weeks of getting up at 4:30 am and being exhausted, we are sitting around and waiting for a phone call. Having a break and sleeping in is great, I’m still hoping to get on the road soon. In the mean time…

We celebrated Rachel’s birthday last weekend. Lots of fun!

So much fun my eyes crossed!

What are you looking at?

We will let you all know what we are doing, when we know. Love you all,

Jacob & Rachel,

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Missouri to Arizona

So we made the move to Phoenix last week. It was a great trip. We split up the drive by stopping in Alamosa Colorado on Monday night to see my cousin and one of my best friends, Seth. We had some great Mexican food and a really good time just getting to spend some time with Seth.

We spent a couple days in KC to say some goodbyes and do some catching up before heading out.

Our great friends, Christian and Emily, let us stay with them for a few nights. Thank you guys so much! You are awesome!

Of course one of our first stops was Benetti’s. Kiersten and John we working bar. I got the best cup of coffee I had had in over six months. You guys are awesome!

The “boys” got to come up for the Renaissance Festival. Isaac, Luke, and Josiah. We are excited! So is Rachel…

Josh on his “ye olde communication device”.

Turkey legs! I had one too, but my hands were way to juicy to take pictures.

I’m not sure whats going on… Josiah looks like he is up to no good. And Josh (max), being miraculous, as usual.

Don’t mess with these guys… Obviously.

Isaac was fighting them off all day. 🙂

Are we lost?

We got to do some hanging out afterwords. Amy made cookies, like always 🙂Harrison, waiting for cookies…

We had a lot of fun and miss everyone like crazy already. I love you guys.

Stopped in Dodge City KS on the way to Alamosa CO on Monday.

This used to be Rachel’s Grandpas hardware store.


We drove from Colorado to Arizona on Tuesday. We had a really fun drive and took our time, and did some sight seeing along the way.

Oldest church in Colorado.

New Mexico!

I forget how much I miss mountains.

Its worth the drive to Santa Fe just for Lota’burger. Really.

Green chillies on your hamburger. Yeah,

Yep, I felt pretty awesome!

Thoreau would have been disappointed. No ponds… Pretty great view though.

Arizona, finally.

Don’t mess with the serious face!

Winslow AZ, just like the songs, and that’s it.

We did get a pretty tasty corn dog there.

We started training today. So we will be busy the next couple weeks.

We love you all. Thank you for being a part of our life.

-Jacob

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Moving…and all that it implies!

Moving makes one awfully busy! Especially when it’s not a normal move. Generally, the process of packing up all of one’s belongings into boxes and tubs is overwhelming and exhausting. Deciding to become truckers and then live in a camper on the few weeks you are home, adds a fun little twist to the moving dynamic.

Step one: Go through everything!

If I don’t need it (and I’m stressing the word “need” here), then it goes…but where to? Trash? Well that seems wasteful. Goodwill or thrift store? That seems like a better idea, and yet moving is expensive so what else could I do with all these items? That’s where step # 2 comes in.

Step two: Yard Sale

If I’m not keeping it, and it’s not a total piece of junk, then we sell it. In this case, there were many items we sold that, were we moving into anything besides a camper, we would have kept. Jacob had a TON of tools, decent – still in good shape – tools, that just won’t be needed for this next phase of our life…they went. I had a ridiculous amount of kitchen utensils and appliances. (Weddings will do that to you). So most of those sold, unless we needed them AND would be able to fit them in the camper. Needless to say we had plenty of things to sell.

Step three: Give

Following the final Yard Sale (which will be this weekend), none of the items that were meant to be sold will be returning to my home. We’ll pack up everything into a trailer and take it to the thrift store – never again to be seen by me (which gives me a genuine sense of peace and happiness…just sayin’).

Step four: Clean! nuff’ said.

It’s amazing how many things one has to consider when moving, and how it requires a reevaluation of every purchase ever made. Most days, I find it refreshing to get rid of stuff that you haven’t even used or looked at for the last 3-6 months. Other days, it’s overwhelming to have to make a decision about each item you own. Then there’s all the other planning required: scheduling to have the utilities turned off on your move date, transferring insurance, notifying EVERY account you have of your new address, planning the drive to that new address, figuring out where, when and how to get your new licenses, navigating the phone systems for all of these departments you have to talk to get this information (cause you don’t have internet and can’t just look it up), the list goes on and on…and the whole time you know you’re forgetting something, that you’ll show up at your new home and realize there’s something you should have done 1,300 miles ago.

But, in the end it’s all worth it to embark on a new adventure; to face the unknown of a new career, a new home, and a whole new lifestyle. The joy and happiness brought on by the impending adventure surpasses the exhausting work required to make it happen.

-Rachel

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Date Night

So lately Jacob and I have unofficially decided that every night should be date night…and so they have been. Nothing fancy, we just spend time with each other either watching a movie, playing a game, or whatever. This, I would imagine, is one of the perks of living out in the country and not being seriously involved in anything. We know this won’t last forever so we’re taking advantage of it while we can.

We’ve discovered that we have to be MUCH more picky about what movies we pick from Red Box. They are NOT all gems, and some movie descriptions make a movie out to be a crime thriller or science fiction drama – but instead it’s a stupid slasher horror film.

Also, if you’re planning on taking a hike into the wilderness (see Choose Your Own Adventure post) , don’t watch a horror film featuring a chase through the woods ending in gory death for at least 2 victims, the night before.

Other than the Red Box rough patch, ‘every night date nights’ have been the greatest thing this last month. I highly recommend applying them to your marriage, if possible. 🙂

-Rachel

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More Birthdays

This week hosted 2 birthdays for the Smith family; Jacob’s brother Josiah, and Jacob’s sister Abby. Last night we had a party to celebrate said birthdays. Josiah requested a raspberry cheesecake – for which i immediately volunteered! 🙂

The white layers are New York Style cheesecake with some lemon and the pink layers are raspberry cheesecake (made from a raspberry reduction I made and then strained to remove the seeds.

 

We all had a lot of fun. We’re really going to miss everybody!

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10-4 Good Buddy

So as you may know, we’ve been living in Mountain Grove, MO for the last few months. Jacob found a job working for Ready Transport, I haven’t had any luck.

As excited as we are that he has a job, we really miss spending all of our time together. So…we started brainstorming possible job opportunities in which we could work together. The other factor we were considering was finances. Jacob and I are trying to pay off all of our debt as soon as possible, which is made more difficult when only one of us is working.

So, Jacob had an idea one day…what if we were truck drivers? They have team drivers, where two people drive so that the truck can go longer distances in a shorter amount of time (a truck driver is only allowed to drive 11 hours in a 24 hour period), and very often married couples will drive as a team. Most of the negatives associated with trucking have to do with time spent away from home and family – but what about when your family is on the road with you? Well, then your family is just getting paid to travel. We liked the sound of that! So I started doing some research.

In order to drive for a truck company, you have to go to truck driving school. Cost for truck driving school ranges from $1,900 – $3,900, a person. BUT, we saw on some forums that some truck companies will pay for the schooling up front and then you have to agree to work for them for a specified amount of time (13 months). We found one such company and after applying were accepted to their academy 🙂 So off to truck driving school we go…

Speaking of which – our school is located in Phoenix, AZ. We’re excited! We’ll be doing training in Phoenix and then that will become our home base. Our current plan is to buy a camper and live in it the 3 days a month we’ll be home. 🙂 We’re equally excited about this fact. In regards to debt pay off, we’ll have ALL of our debt paid off in less than a year! So far it’s been impossible for me to say that without smiling.

So if anyone has any trucking advice for us, please feel free to give it!

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Choose Your Own Adventure

Last Saturday was a beautiful day and it’d been way too long since Jacob and I had enjoyed the great outdoors so we set out for the river to enjoy some fun in the sun and possibly a small hike.

On the way out we passed this old school-house and thought it was really cute.

Then, Jacob had a surprise for me. With his new job (we told you about that right? … anyway) he does a lot of driving and apparently he’d seen this look out tower.


So we climbed up it! 🙂

It was mighty tall!

And the view was awesome.

Now, you can’t see it in the pictures, and it’d be easy for me to just continue with the story, you none the wiser, but I gotta tell you…I had a death grip on those railings every bit of the way! That tower was TALL and a little shifty, not to mention there were almost no rails blocking you from falling off the sides. NOT KID FRIENDLY! As we were almost all the way back down we thought about counting all the stairs, but neither of us felt like going all the way back up. It could have been laziness, on my part it was mostly terror.

So after the beautiful view from the tower we continued on toward the river.

We made it to the river, which was really pretty and would have been pleasantly peaceful if it weren’t for the huge family off to the left (out of the picture) and the pontoon that showed up right as we got in the water. So with that, we ate our packed lunches and decided to try to find this other camp site Jacob had heard about that’s supposed to be beautiful and free [right in our price range :)] So on we went.

We found the camp site and it was indeed beautiful and free. We drove around the area, planning future camping weekends, and on the way out we saw a sign for a camping trail and excitedly stopped to investigate said trail. As you can see in the picture, we weren’t planning on, or prepared for, a serious hike. We both had swimsuits on, and not much more in the area of protection. So we set off to check it out.

We found the trail head and discovered that either way we went, it was gonna be a long hike. Without giving it a whole lot of thought (definitely not enough thought) we headed out for the shorter of the two trails, the South Loop.

As we began the hike we were really enjoying ourselves. The trail was pretty and there were lots of pretty flowers and vegetation along the way.

So as we’re enjoying ourselves on the hike we get to a part of the trail that’s really overgrown and thorny (not fun) and then shortly after we cleared that, we got to a fork in the road that wasn’t marked at all. Frustrated, we went a little ways down each path and decided to go to the left. (We both realize now that this was the point at which we should have turned back, but of course we didn’t.)

So on we went, still not too worried about the trail. A few hours later we got to a point in the trail with two signs, one for the North Loop (the 10 mile loop we opted out of) and one sign for Roby Lake. Obviously, we were once again frustrated and neither sign was any help. We had already been going for hours so the idea of going back seemed horrible and we went to the left toward Roby Lake, hoping that would be the one.

After a 1/2 mile or so down that path, and two forks, we decide that this isn’t the right one and we turn back to the same intersection with all the useless signs. It’s at this point that I start to vocalize what’s been running through my head for the last hour or so. We only have so much sunlight left. It was 3:3o when we started this hike and while the sun is still shining quite brightly, if we don’t find a way out in the next couple of hours…well, I don’t know what. As you can see…i was freaking out a little bit. Jacob and I figured that if we had already gone so long down the trail we were on, if we went on the North Loop maybe the end of the trail would be just about a mile down that way…we hoped. Either way, there was nothing else we could do but keep walking, so we did…for hours.

until we found ANOTHER fork in the road with a small sign:

The writing in Sharpie says “Big Piney Trail Camp”. Big Piney Trail was the name of the trail we started on so we figured this was a good way to go.

1/2 an hour later I started re-thinking the wisdom in following signs written in Sharpie in the middle of the forest. At this point I’m scared. I don’t want to spend the night in the forest. Oh AND, both our cell phones are still in the truck, we didn’t bother to bring those along. And the 1/2 full bottle of water we had started with was now almost empty. I knew we wouldn’t die if we didn’t get out soon, but that still didn’t bring me a lot of comfort with the prospect of spending the night in the wilderness with absolutely no provisions looming overhead.

This whole time we had been hoping to pass over a gravel road at some point because we had passed over one at the beginning of the trail and we figured we’d have to go back over to get back to the trail head.

Eventually we found the road and crossed it, following the trail on the other side. However, about a 1/4 mile in we decided that since the sun was already starting to go down, our best bet would be to go back to the gravel road and walk along that till we find the camp and possibly a car with helpful people.

So we turned around, found the road again, picked a direction to start walking and headed off. One car passed us, just waving but not stopping to help and I felt exhausted.  We both had mud all up and down our legs, our faces were weathered and every movement came with a lot of effort. Finally, a car drove up and stopped so we asked which way the Paddy Creek Campground was – the opposite way we were heading of course. So we said thank you and turned around to walk. Graciously, the gentleman told us that they were headed there and they could give us a ride if we’d like.

I’m not sure I’ve ever felt that relieved. I heaved a great sigh and said thank you with all the gratitude I could muster, Jacob tossed his huge walking stick into the woods and we piled in.

By the time we got to the campground we learned that not only were we 2-3 miles from the campground, but we had ended up making a big circle without knowing, and approached the campground from the opposite direction we had left it.

As we reached the truck all of my exhaustion set in and I began to realize just how frightened I had been the whole time. Of course, my natural reaction to all of that was just to start laughing, incessantly. It wasn’t like a raucous laughter, just a small low chuckle that I couldn’t stop.

After deciding that none of the pictures were going to come out ok, we gave up on them and headed home, thankful for the fact that we could. We looked at the clock when we got in the truck – it was just after 8:30. As we drove home, the sun went down and by the time we got home, it was dark. My own bed has never felt so good!

What you should glean from this tale:

– Don’t be stupid

– When you have hesitations about an activity, speak up before it’s too late

– Don’t venture into the woods with your swimsuit, half a bottle of water for two people, and a camera. (dumb!)

– TAKE YOUR PHONE!

– Make sure there’s a trail map – if there isn’t, DON’T go!

– Don’t be stupid! (It needed to be stated twice – trust me!)

Glad to be home!

-The Fortunate

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Summer Treasures

I love summer! Warmth, growth, and long, long days. It’s great. My favorite part may be the fruit – abundance of fruit. Everything is growing! Jacob’s uncle has a bunch of fruit trees at his place and the other day we went over and picked a bunch of peaches that were ripe and ready! We got so many that we made 7 jars of peach jam with some peaches to spare.

 

 

 

Blanching to get the peels off

sliced up

Jam!

The canning funnel is most helpful

Water bath!

Finished product!

Canning was lots of fun – more fun in the canning department to come!

-Rachel

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