Discover more from Jam On The Road
And always planning where to go next.
Hello friends, loved ones, and those who’ve subscribed to this newsletter (that isn’t much of a newsletter) thinkin’ you’d be getting a blow-by-blow account of our exciting life on the road. We’re now over a month into our BNB-hopping, vagabond family adventure and to be honest…it’s currently crickets and tumbleweeds over here. Which, for anyone with young kids, isn’t a bad thing, really. But since I’ve committed to writing about our journey to our next foreverish home, just in case others out there are thinking of doing something similar, I might as well type everything out. That includes the *ahem* boring stuff.
Previously On: Jam On The Road
A lot has happened in the past thirty days, actually. Here are several highlights:
Thanks for reading Jam On The Road! Subscribe for free to receive new posts about our adventures.
We went camping as a family for the first time ever.
Considering the time crunch we were in moving out of our house, and considering the J-Man’s injuries that made him not quite mobile, it was actually a miracle we were able to make it to the campsite in one piece. The day we were supposed to go was also our last day to move our crap out of the house, and it took longer than expected. We were so tired by the time we were done that we debated on just postponing our weekend plans, but anyone with kids like ours who are old enough to remember promises and fiercely hold you to them will find themselves unable to deny them their heart’s desire…for s’mores.
That’s right. Days leading up to camping weekend, Older Kid kept asking if we were really going to make s’mores like the ones in one of his books that he just started learning to read by himself. When we hinted that we might have to camp one night less because moving out took too long, he came close to crying and said, “But you said we were making s’mores! Can you just…move faster and run faster so we can go camping tonight?” His disappointed face was why we found ourselves pulling into our designated camp spot at 10:30 at night, with our friends already there waiting for us to help set up our tent and get our children into their new sleeping bags.
Camping was fun. Being in nature is always a great reset, both in mind and body. We temporarily turned off our worries and focused on giving ourselves a break from all the craziness of our impending semi-homelessness. We enjoyed the sun, the company of friends, the warmth of a campfire, and yes, s’mores. After a scrumptious dinner of fire-roasted hotdogs, we finally showed Older Kid how to make some and this was his reaction:
S’mores fail! Despite this though, our first family camping experience was a success.
We’ve lessened our possessions quite a bit.
We had to get three separate storage units when we first started because the weather was not great during move-out week and we just wanted to be done ASAP. Happy to report that we’ve offloaded enough items through FB Marketplace that we actually are on our way to having only two storage units worth of stuff. Additionally, J-Man has recovered enough from his bike accident that he was able to get this work of art done by himself:
He thinks he can cram everything into one unit, and given his excellent spatial awareness (which, he says, is more effective when the kids and I stay at home while he moved things around, haha), I have no doubt. I still have those burn-everything-to-the-ground-and-start-fresh dreams occasionally, but the thought of losing all my signed Jason Mraz memorabilia, the kids’ birth boxes, and the wonderful dining table J-Man made from scratch makes me nostalgic enough to take it all back.
Older Kid graduated from kindergarten!
If he were actually enrolled in in-person school, the graduation festivities may have been a little more meaningful to him. (Do they do the toga and cap thing for kindergarten? I’m not even sure.) Since he went through the online learning route, the day was simply Hug Teacher and Get Some Ice Cream Day. Still a pretty excellent afternoon that made momma a tiny bit emotional. Can’t believe he’ll be in first grade (!!!) in just a few months.
Younger Kid got vaccinated against COVID-19.
HALLELUJAH!!! This was honestly a relief and my mommanxiety went down a few notches. We have all been waiting for the day both our kids get to be protected against this stupid f**king virus. Younger Kid wasn’t happy about getting jabbed and had all the feelings and tears, but it gave me much-needed comfort and assurance that my kids will have a fair shot at getting through this period unscathed (I hope!!! Knock on wood!!!). Super duper grateful to science.
Grandma came for a visit.
It’s always wonderful to have some time with extended family. J-Man’s mom came and our kids immediately stuck to her like glue. We had lots of yummy Mexican food and some outdoor time at the beach, the capitol, and the park.
J-Man and I got to go out on a date…our first time at the movie theater in two years! It made me nervous at first, but Top Gun: Maverick was so freaking amazing that I felt like it was worth stepping out of our bubble.
I turned 38.
I actually miscalculated and thought that I had one more year till I turned 40. When J-Man and his mom corrected me, I was too relieved that I “gained back” a year to even register my minor brain skip. 😂 Spent the day just like any ol’ Thursday: Went for a run, listened to an audiobook and some comedy podcasts, watched the kids play in the sunshine, and ate some good food courtesy of the J-Man. I also got a free Starbucks drink and a cake and just like every other birthday since I got together with the hubs, we honored my self-assigned tradition and watched The Princess Bride. Got to end the night with a long bubble bath (a rarity!) and much-needed alone time to just…revel in my 38ness.
Spent time with even more extended family.
One of the things I am going to miss about Seattle is living close to cousins and aunts. Although I don’t get to see them as often as I’d want, it’s always a grand ol’ time being with them, catching up on family chismis, sharing laughs, and again, eating good food. In Filipino families, good food is a given, always.
Saw my favorite band with the J-Man after a super-long hiatus.
The days of me going to multiple Jason Mraz shows in one tour are on indefinite pause. For the past few years, I was lucky to be able to catch one show per tour, if I was able to go to one at all. It has been three years since my last Mraz & Raining Jane show, so of course, I was ecstatic that my favorite band ever was making a stop in Seattle, at a winery, to sing some new tunes and some old ones, too. I just knew it was going to be an epic night.
I was not disappointed. I got to see some concert friends. I got to (silently) sing and (obnoxiously) dance in my seat. I got to drink cheap wine with my beloved. I got to say hey to my friends onstage. I even got to participate in a conga line [watch here]! All in all, it was another date night for the books.
Seattle BNBs are not too shabby.
Our first BNB in Federal Way was adequate, considering we had to book it in a mad rush. While we had everything we basically needed, we only had one medium-sized TV and pretty shitty internet, which was a bummer. It was smaller than what we are used to space-wise, but J-Man said staying in a tinier space was sort of a relief and that we should see it as a motivation to trim our possessions even more. We literally filled the living room with numerous crates of stuff I believed to be “essential to our trip”. It was not going to be sustainable once we leave the Seattle area because we wouldn’t have quick access to our storage units anymore. So yeah, the Facebook Marketplace saga continues. The challenge to only eat stuff we have in our pantry stash and minimize grocery shopping is still ongoing.
We are now in our second BNB in Kent, which is a lot roomier and more comfortable. We were greeted with a welcome basket and a card addressed to the Kotenko family. We have a king-sized bed (once you go king, everything else is just too fricking small!). We have a big flat-screen TV. And more importantly, we have high-speed internet.
Pro tip #1: Make sure to inquire about internet speed when booking BNBs.
Pro tip #2: Compare Airbnb and VRBO rental prices per night. Property owners often list on both platforms and more often than not, booking on VRBO seems to be cheaper.
I am getting ready to race again!
My half-marathon is coming up in less than two weeks, and although I have been running pretty regularly in the past couple of weeks, I don’t know if I trained hard enough to beat my time of 2 hours 38 minutes. At the very least, I am hoping my right knee doesn’t give out and my back doesn’t seize. I am hoping my playlist has enough bops in it to keep me amped up for the entirety of the race. Wish me luck, and lemme know if you have any songs to add:
We are off to Portugal!
We’ve booked flights for September (for three weeks) for what will be our first international flight since arriving in the U.S. in 2020. I am pretty excited about it but also very stressed. It’s going to be a long flight in a small enclosed space with two kids who probably won’t last with their masks on for the entire duration of the flight. I am crossing my fingers and toes that none of us contract COVID mid-air.
On the other hand, I am super hyped because the last time I was in Europe was before I got pregnant with Older Kid seven years ago. And I have never been to Portugal before! We haven’t been able to satisfy our love of travel for quite some time and if not for Younger Kid getting vaxxed, we might have held off hopping on a plane for a long flight even longer.
We are also using this time in Portugal as a recon mission of sorts. We want to know if Portugal is somewhere we actually want to move to. Yes, to live in, because to be quite frank, the U.S. is sort of a mess on many fronts right now and we just need a tiny break. If we decide we like it there, we may opt to take Jam On The Road intercontinental, at least a few months a year. TBD on the living-in-Europe-part-time-or-forever front.
For now, we’re enjoying our last few weeks in Washington State, are excited for our upcoming month on the Oregon coast, and looking forward to making Vegas our home for the next year or so.
See ya later! 🤟🏼
Thanks for reading Jam On The Road! Subscribe for free to receive new posts about our adventures.