Well, in the past two months, we’ve made some major purchases that have increased our awareness about our return to “normal life.” Part of it has been in preparation for welcoming our new baby (just a few weeks to go now!), and part of it has just been part of life at home. Let’s start with this major purchase:

A 2008 Honda Odyssey!

A 2008 Honda Odyssey!

Yep… we bought a minivan! When we first came home from the Tour, we shared my old car for almost a year. Our whole time in Nashville this was never a problem, as we were able to get almost anywhere we needed to go on our bicycles. Plus, since our schedules were somewhat inconsistent with part-time jobs, we never really had an issue.

But when we decided to move to Montgomery, we knew we were going to have to purchase another vehicle. We weren’t thrilled about this, to be honest. We were hoping to be a one-car family. But we knew a few things would hinder that goal. First of all, Montgomery is simply not a bike-friendly city–especially not the part of town where we are living. Secondly, Dave is actually working in Tallassee–which is a 30-minute drive away. He has actually ridden his bike to work once since we moved here, but it’s not something that’s sustainable for a daily routine, since it’s more than 20 miles in each direction. So it’s really better for him to drive to work each day. We lived our first six weeks here sharing a car, but I was limited on where I could go on my bike during the day since our part of the city doesn’t have a lot of surface streets that are handy for bike navigation. All that to say, as soon as I started working in August, we knew we were going to have to make the big purchase. Fortunately, my dad let us borrow an extra car he had for about two months until we were in a better position with our savings to purchase the vehicle we really wanted.

And what vehicle did we really want? That’s right–we went all out. We got a minivan. We know that’s not necessary just because we’re having a baby. But we have to be honest… we’ve actually thought minivans were the ultimate in practical vehicles for a while. We’ve only ever driven two-door cars, and that can be challenging when you try to haul a bunch of big stuff around (like we had to do a ton when we were renovating our house in Auburn). So… having the baby was really just an excuse that helped us justify buying a minivan. We’ve been married nearly six years, and this is our first vehicle purchase together. It was kind of fun and a little stressful, shopping around online and doing our research to ensure that we could get a good value for our money. But we knew we had a deadline to purchase by the end of September, and we finally settled on this 2008 Honda Odyssey we found just up the road in Auburn.

The real reason we bought the minivan: space! This thing is awesome... you can easily strap boats on top, load bikes on the back, and all the while put a couple of sheets of plywood or drywall down in the back when you lay the seats down.

The real reason we bought the minivan: space! This thing is awesome… you can easily strap boats on top, load bikes on the back, and all the while put a couple of sheets of plywood or drywall down in the back when you lay the seats down.

We were very excited about getting our van, but the irony of it all was we drove to Auburn to buy it exactly one year after our return home–to Auburn–from the Tour. That’s right, on September 28, 2013, we rode our bikes into Town Creek Park to finish our world journey. And on September 27, 2014, we returned to Auburn and bought the biggest and newest vehicle either of us has ever purchased. It definitely reminded us of how much life has changed in this past year!

And while we’re talking about transitions, just two weeks ago, we finally went and got these:

Spiffy new iPhones. We have officially conformed.

Spiffy new iPhones. We have officially conformed.

Perhaps the bigger thing to note here is that we were home for MORE than one year, and we got by sharing this awesome phone:

Yes, they still make these.

Yes, they still make these.

Yes, for more than a year we did not have separate phones, nor did we own a smart phone. We were a bit of an anomaly among our generation. We often joked on ourselves about our “drug dealer phone,” but honestly, it was a lot less expensive to have the shared, pre-paid phone. We had decided when we first got home that we would get cell phones when Dave got a job. That process took longer than expected, but then even after he started working, we didn’t really see a need to spend the money on having separate phones. Even more so once I started working as well! We both had access to telephones at our office, so if we needed to get in touch with each other we could. We could still text and call other friends, and depending on who had the phone, we could also use email to communicate with people. We never have had GPS, so we didn’t miss the navigation aspect of a smart phone (in fact, when we first moved to Montgomery, we had to stop in several places to buy a local city map–those aren’t easy to come by anymore!).

I can count on one hand the number of times not having separate phones actually posed a problem for us. Don’t get me wrong, there were times it was inconvenient. But altogether, it was just not that big of a deal. So, two weeks ago, when we spent two hours of our Saturday afternoon getting set up on new phone plans, I found myself both excited and sad. Yes, it’s exciting–we finally have the means by which to communicate easily with each other and family and  friends. We’re a bit behind the learning curve for our age on the iPhone usage, but we’re starting to figure them out.

But I know I was sad in a strange way that evening as I began to toy with my new iPhone 5s. I thought about our minivan, our separate cars, our new phones, our great rental house–and I’m super thankful for all of those things, and that we have the means by which to pay for them! But I knew that these things in many ways issue the bringing in of a new season, and in that, a loss of simplicity. And in some way, I needed to allow myself to mourn that loss. Let’s face it:  we probably won’t ever go back to NOT having smart phones. In this life at home we have phone bills, rental payments, car insurance and gas to buy for two vehicles… the list goes on. It’s a trade-off though… with those things come enjoyment and a certain level of convenience and even fun! I know the Tour was only for a season in our life, but I hope I always appreciate the simplicity that it allowed us. And I hope I never completely lose that desire and ability to live simply on some level. But all of this has been a  necessary part of the continued transition back into “normal” life.

And speaking of transitions–we can’t believe our baby is due in just two and a half weeks! We are sure we have far more change ahead than what is behind us. But we are excited about this new adventure and the joys it will bring.

We did go ahead and install the car seat in the minivan so we'll be ready when Baby G arrives!

We did go ahead and install the car seat in the minivan so we’ll be ready when Baby G arrives!