What is your Fullosophy? When we first got married we barely spent any time together. My husband had two children from a previous marriage and in order to not lose any visitation – we always took separate vacations and did everything we could do so visitation was maintained. But were we creating memories? Probably not so much as we thought at the time. Then we adopted a child who was so full of need that the situation continued – we staggered everything to make sure we had coverage.
At some point though, after adopting two more special needs children, we decided that wasn’t enough. We were no longer going to live in that bubble. We were going to create a life we wanted and travel. It is often a ton of work to maintain that quality time but we try everything we can to make it work.
First – we decided camping and traveling was going to be a huge part of our lives and future. The first year we spent renting trailers at different campgrounds to see just what type of campground would be best for our family and the special needs our children have. The following year we purchased a camper and became seasonal campers at a campground in Maine.
But that was just the beginning of the changes and that was 7 years ago. I can say each year has held many different opportunities for us. Some of the opportunities have come about because the youngest kids are now 10 and 15. Other opportunities because of money we have saved and our ability to make everything an adventure.
What would make my life even more full? To quit my job and work full time from home. But I can’t quite make that leap while helping to support my inlaws who live with us; meet the financial needs of our special needs children; help to support my middle daughter and her family and still go camping. I expect to get to that point though – maybe one more year?! Some things money can’t buy though – our dog is sick… Really sick. Money has definitely allowed us to keep her for a year so far but at some point even the money will not help.
And here is our other gorgeous gal…
Usually our travel plans are throughout New England – weekends all over the place and always willing to get up and go. But this year those events were supplemented with a spur of the moment trip to Florida to spend time with family and a couple days at Disney. This winter I would love to take the kids to New York City!
And then the biggest changes of all this year – horseback riding – for all of us! My youngest daughter always wanted to ride a horse and with her special needs I really turned to horses as a last resort. It has been life changing for all of us.
It took another couple months for my son to get on a horse.
And I was deathly allergic – epipen rush, to the hospital several times, kind of allergic. The worst kind! But I was determined to make it work. I slowly got closer and closer to the horses and eventually no longer needed to have the kids change their clothes before getting in the car. Then I started driving around with their horse gear in the car – my car smells like a barn but it helped to build up my tolerance. I was still taking huge amounts of allergy meds all the time but I was there. Then I was finally able to touch, hug, kiss, brush the horses. I could help my kids live their dreams. As all of that happened my husband began to get closer to the horses too. There is nothing better than the smell of the barn and all of us enjoying the animals and all that they have to offer. Where we go there are horses, ponies, mini ponies, goats, llamas, chickens, turkeys, rabbits, cats and a cow. I am sure I am missing some animals but there are a ton! Now my husband and I even enjoy a ride every now and then. We focus the money on the kids riding, lessons and my daughter competing but every now and then we just can’t resist.
Now, not only do we do our regular travels – but we travel to different equestrian centers, we travel for competitions and travel to horse rescue centers. Eventually owning horses will be in our future I am sure but then travel will be on hold. But this year alone we have traveled to multiple locations in Florida (driving so there were many stops along the way from Connecticut), New Hampshire for Mount Washington, Nascar race, Brad Paisley concert, Ice Castles, and more; Maine for camping and all the local places plus Acadia National Park, many cliff walks, light houses etc…; Massachusetts for Boston – circus, sports and more! And best of all – riding horses from Florida to Maine!
I am not sure what our lives would have looked like without adopted three special needs children but I know their lives wouldn’t have looked like this! And we get to live this life…
Now I have taken the Abbott LIFE. TO THE FULLEST. quiz and was excited at the prospect of learning what everyone feels will make their lives be full. It starts by asking what makes your life feel the most fulfilled? I answered travel (though travel with family – one choice only though).
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.