Bits of Sweetness

John Tursi Trail

We had heard about this trail for a while but had yet to venture to find it! One sunny Saturday we decided to set out.

There are two access points for this trail: Pass Lake parking north of Deception Pass and the parking area by Donnell Road, off Campbell Lake Road.

We parked off Campbell Lake Rlad and walked the quarter mile down Donnell Road to the trail. We ran into fellow returning hikers who reported a wonderful hike.

Andrew was quick to find a walking stick. There are quite a few available resting on a rock that hikers leave for others to enjoy.

The trail has a little bit of an elevatipm gain but it's worth it for the beautiful views shortly into the hike.

We found quite a few pretty natural elements along the way.

The trail is well-maintained with rocks placed as steps and it was easy to navigate, clearly marked.

We reached the old mine and Andrew was thrilled as it was the main thing he'd wanted to see.

We didn't continue past the old mine but will soon because there is an abandoned miner's cabin you can see.

All in all it was a great hike.

Full Time RVing With Kids

It's like the dirty little secret everyone wants to ask about and whispers to us, "But how does it work with four kids?! How is it possible to RV full time with kids?!" We love the life we have and don't mind the questions either.

A year ago we left behind the rental lifestyle, bought a nice Southwind, bought a Thousand Trails upgraded membership and embraced the resort lifestyle. (I will say our five year plan includes buying a house but we'll see where life takes us. For now, we think it's pretty cool that we can say we own our own home at 31 and 34!).

As it turns out, we aren't the only family to do this! The full time RV lifestyle is rapidly gaining popularity. In fact, some of our favorite friends are fellow travel bloggers, Micro Adventure Family.
Currently, we move between two resorts and have a membership that allows us to stay almost a month at each one. We get asked a lot if that's frustrating, but honestly, we've done it so many times and usually get our favorite spots that it's not a big deal. We live minimally inside and out to make it simple to move.

Multi-functional space is the name of the game, especially with kids. My favorite spot is the kitchen with a window that has a beautiful view. We make use of the table as a place for meals, games, family movie nights, activities together, and a place for reading and sipping tea. It can be used for two beds or one big one. The loft space, partly pictured, is our oldest's "room" and he loves hanging out up there reading (it's the size of a full bed!) It also functions as a fort for the kids and separate play area.

The former owners installed gorgeous hardwood floors. It really brightens up the place.

The views are probably one of the best features of the resorts we stay at. Right on oceanfront preserve land, it affords some breathtaking sunrises and sunsets. We can't wait to have friends out this summer!

Some key things that have made it work well with multiple kids in a smaller space:

Learning to live peaceably together.

This one goes without saying but it is also very true! We have all learned to be more compassionate, more conscientious of what we're doing, kind, and respectful of space and belongings. It is surprisingly calm in our place and we all work hard to keep it that way.

Using space multi-functionally. 

I touched on this some already but we all love being creative with space and transitioning a few times a day. It's not for everyone, but we don't mind it for us.

Deep cleaning once a week, and cleaning as we go.

Both of these things have been very helpful. After every activity, we put everything away and wipe off whatever surface we were using. We do dishes as we go, especially before the day is done. Every Sunday afternoon, Josh takes the kids out to play or to the lodge so I can do a deep clean the way I like it. I put every single thing away and organize everything to my liking. It really is a boost to do it!

Everyone is part of a team!

It's true for every family! There is no "I" in team. The kids feel a lot more important when they can help out together with us. They each have their cleaning job. We give a lot of structure letting them know what will happen that specific day so they aren't caught off guard by anything. Rules are really important too and we have several everyone follows including no running or jumping off the beds inside. The kids are really great at listening because they realize how important it is!

The family that plays together stays together!

Being right in the outdoors, it makes it easy to play together outside. We just discovered the John Tursi Trail that's an abandoned mine. Andrew loved spending the time hiking to it. Next up we're hoping to hike Fragrance Lake.

Put a little whistle while you work. 

We are an eclectic music family. Whether listening to music or humming a tune, we all enjoy adding music to our day. As a mom, I really utilize music as a tool for a calm moment, or to energize myself for cleaning, or to help the kids calm down after an exciting day.

Know the setup for the local school districts and transportation.

We love our local school that our oldest goes to. We found out they provide out-of-district transportation as well as in-district depending on where we stay. It is a great feature of the local public schools and we love that they provide this. There are many other families where we are at who also do this full time! It's nice for our son to have friends he can ride the bus with and see where we stay.

We read a lot.

This is one activity that helps maintain calm. We often have five to ten books checked out from the local library and go back often for the next in the series. Our oldest loves the Wings of Fire books. We recently discovered the Hoopla app that libraries subscribe to. There are tons of audiobooks available. We've started doing that at bedtime to help the kids wind down and fall asleep. My childhood favorite Mrs. Piggle Wiggle is available there!

These are just a few of the things that we utilize to make things work for us. There is truly no place like home!