Tuesday, April 14, 2015

What is Deputation? Part 5: Living on the Road

 
One of the hardest parts of deputation for me is living in the van.  Everything we need has to fit in there (glad we have a big one!), and stay organized.  I would add that my preference is for it to stay clean as well, but traveling in the snowy months, having four little kids, and all of the stuff in the van makes it difficult to clean out often.
 
It was hard to decide what we would need for three months, and what we could do without.  These are a few things we did to make our life on the road a little easier.
 
I packed four play outfits for the kids, and two church outfits.  Some weeks this is too much clothing; other weeks it is not enough.  We have two kids who still wet the bed sometimes, and two toddlers who are messy eaters.  This often makes for a lot of laundry!  But thankfully, we have only had to utilize a laundry mat a couple of times.  Most of the time our host family has a washing machine they allow us to use.  (This definitely makes me pray harder for a washing machine in the Bronx!)
 

A friend told me to put a set of plastic drawers in the back of the van, like a dresser.  We have three duffle bags we pack with our overnight necessities.  This keeps us from carrying everything inside at each stop.  (But I still feel like we bring in a lot of stuff!)  I just refill the bag each day.  We also have a clothes bar which helps a lot, especially with dress clothes!
 
I keep a small box of “extras” in the van – toiletries, razors, laundry soap, travel iron, stain remover, dish soap, tissues, etc.  I’ve been grateful for this box many times!  We use travel size bottles to take into the house (less weight), but I refill them from the box when the bottles run low.  I have one bag of puzzles and toys and books that we take inside if the host family doesn’t have any toys.  The kids each have a small backpack in which they got to bring a few small toys, favorite book, and “best friend” to sleep with.  Most of the time the backpacks and toys stay in the car, and my kids enjoy a new set of toys at each stop!
 

One thing we bring along which isn’t really a necessity is the kids’ blankets.  They each have a favorite fleece blanket.  It is something that helps keep the bedtime routine consistent, even when the layout of the house and the bed is different at each stop.  We also pack our own nightlights in case the host home doesn’t have any.
 
I am looking forward to summer travel when I can leave behind the winter coats, snow boots, and snow suits.  They take up a lot of room!
 
We are very grateful for the DVD player my parents had installed in the van.  It is especially helpful when we run into traffic and the kids get antsy because we aren’t moving very fast.  It gives them something to do in the car, too.  (And it means less crayons, stickers, and toys that mom is picking up off the floor!)
 
It isn’t easy to live on the road constantly.  I am more and more excited as we closer to settling down in the Bronx.  But living on the road has helped me to realize how little it really takes to survive.  We are so blessed to have so many nice things, but they aren’t necessary to still enjoy life!
 
So that’s it…Deputation “in a nutshell” (otherwise known as five parts!)

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