After a week in Steamboat Springs, we headed north last week. Internet is super iffy here. I have more pictures from Steamboat to post sometime, but for now I wanted to share an un-plannned stop in Ashley National Forest. When you have your own forest it is mandatory to take a jumping shot by the sign. Mandatory.
6.14flaminggorge-1We were headed to Wyoming and took a route through Ashley National Forest that brought us to the Flaming Gorge.6.14flaminggorge-26.14flaminggorge-36.14flaminggorge-46.14flaminggorge-56.14flaminggorge-6

Chris walked up to the edge and instantly shouted, “IT’S GREAT TO BE ALIVE!!” He shouts that often. It will be one of those things the kids will always remember about him. I love that. The gorge was spectacular.

“Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of your wonders. From where the sun rises to where it sets, you inspire shouts of joy.” ~ Psalm 65:8

Indeed, He inspires shouts of joy!

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  • Cassie - This is beautiful! Makes me crave a camping adventure!

  • Ryan / The Blooming Thread - What an amazing view! The water just looks beautiful flowing between the mountains like that. Thank you for sharing that bible verse too. I’ve never read or heard that one before, but its absolutely satisfies the feeling i get standing in front of the ocean over here on the west coast. Committing this one to memory :)

  • kensie - If you are still in Utah, your kiddos would LOVE Goblin Valley. It’s basically piles of the coolest round rock formations great for running and climbing.

  • Bambi and Birdy - “IT’S GREAT TO BE ALIVE!!” Thats something about my father I will remember my whole life. He maybe never shouted it out but he definitely lives life as it is the most amazing thing in the whole world!

    I would be so happy, if my kids had this inspiration in life as well!

    Enjoy the rest of your trip!
    Love from Germany and the fatcatconnection
    B&B

    and see, Bambi can see again ;-)
    http://lasagnolove.blogspot.de/2014/06/blind-no-more.html

  • a - Utah it beautiful. Your trip looks wonderful. I hope you give out your road map and I can copy cat your trip. So fun. In a few years you should road trip down to southern Utah. Arches National Forest and Lake Powell are beautiful. great hikes and a land built for boys and firecracker girls.

  • Rebecca Harrington - Yes! I love the scripture, love the shouting and love the pictures. Pure beauty! :)

  • Jenna Lou - Looks like such a fantastic trip. If you ever have time to share the camera settings I would LOVE to know! I ALWAYS love when you include that!

  • Julie - Perfect verse! Love the girlies cuddling.

  • Regina - Beautiful view and photos! I love seeing the way you capture your family in pictures.

  • kimberly oyler - adding this to my list of places to visit. your kids are going to remember this trip for so long. so so so special.

  • Amy Espinosa - Outstanding photos Ashley! It looks like you are all having the time of your life! Keep the pics coming!

  • jami - Agreed with the above comment.. If your close they would LOVE Goblin Valley!! Also Little Sahara State Park… Sand dunes for miles..so fun to just play in… If you need a place to crash and let kids play..dump and refill you always welcome in Nephi!! I’ve been following your blog for years and am so inspired by you. Enjoy your journey!!!

  • Melanie Britt - Beautiful!!

  • Jenny B. - I thought your post title was “Flaming George.” :) :) :) It looks beautiful! I am feeling nervous just reading the sign, “guard your children.” High places make me feel nervous and weak in the knees. I love that you said that your kids will remember Chris shouting “It’s great to be alive!” I recently read an article about our perception of time, and it said that scientists think paying attention to life makes it seem to pass more slowly because periods of increased brain activity feel longer in retrospect than periods of little brain activity. So… seize the day! (and remember it). ;)

  • angie webb - All so breathtaking. But my heart leaped when I saw the photo of Firecracker snuggling Little One. Doesn’t your heart just leap for joy at that?!

  • Izzy - It’s so cool you found your forest : ) love the jump shot! The view in that last photo is beautiful on screen, must be breathtaking in real life. It’s great to be alive!

  • Christina - Beautiful stop – been there many times. There is this great little geologic drive around there as well. I of course forget the name, but it’s on the maps. :)

  • Taylor - Gorgeous photos! I love that little piece of scripture that you added at the bottom; beautiful.

    xoxo
    Taylor

  • elizabeth H - breathtaking. SO,SO beautiful!!
    love seeing these photos!!

Well thank you for the comments on our trailer and trip pictures. The suggestions for a post with tips for hiking with kids surprised me. I am definitely not an expert on that topic, but I do have 5 kids and hike quite a bit. I’ll put a post together of my practical advice for how we do it…just remember I’m a Okie who often hikes in flip flops!

I have a few posts related to projects in the trailer. Today I thought I’d share my MacGyver pillow making skills. This is sure to make any seamstress cringe…so look away now if you know how to sew.

I didn’t feel like going back in forth between the house and the trailer, so I just took my sewing machine out to the trailer. I draped random sheets and table cloths over pillow inserts to see what I liked. Then I just started cutting…without a measuring stick of any kind. Don’t tell my mom.
6.14trailer2-001

I needed to get a bunch of pillows made in about 2 hours, so I just made really big pillowcases and tucked the ends in around the pillow inserts. It works and they come off easily for cleaning, which is important considering all the dirty camping kids that lay on them!6.14trailer2-0026.14trailer2-004

I keep my eye out for stained vintage table cloths. They are usually much cheaper and they would get stained in my house anyway. I’ve had a growing stack that I usually use for picnic tables, but I decided to cut into them to make the trailer pillows. Thus, the pillows have some stains and holes, but I sure don’t mind.6.14trailer2-005

6.14aviontour-017

The other big sewing project was the ruffled bathroom curtain. My mom bought me the dishtowel and I was hoping to use it in the trailer. It is the perfect fit for the doorway going into the bathroom. I picked out two other tablecloths and asked my mom to sew me some ruffles…well I asked her to make the whole curtain.6.14trailer2-007

Turns out one of the tablecloths had too many holes for my mom to work with, so I picked a different one and my old duvet cover. I figured they all had that rosy red color so that counts as coordinating. Right?

6.14aviontour-003

I had a steady flow of helpers, namely this little miss.6.14trailer2-009

In other news, I found a perfect little spot to watch kids fish. I buried my sweet tea/lemonade in the snow next to me and plopped myself down in that patch of sun. Approximately two minutes later someone needed help. I’ll be bringing my chair and Arnold Palmer with me again soon…maybe I’ll get three minutes. But if I don’t, I really don’t mind!6.14trailer2-010

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  • Avenlea - Little One looks great!! She has gotten so big, and her hair is beautiful!!:)

  • Danielle Peters - Oh that view! *drooling* Where exactly are you?! It’s June with snow on the ground?!

  • Amy Espinosa - Loving these traveling posts! Keep ‘um comin’!

  • Kimberly Oyler - I really thought that whole curtain was something you bought! you’re so good at mixing patterns.

  • Suzie12 - That top dishtowel is SO perfect! I wish they still made them.

  • Sarah D. - This trip looks like so much fun! I’m wondering if you could share your travel plans (where you went, how many days you spent, etc.) and where you stayed. We are planning a road trip out West next summer and would love to know how you did it. Thank you!! I love all of the pictures.

  • Jenny L. - Your family and the flip-flops cracks me up. You don’t usually see that anywhere but here in Florida. And speaking of Little Miss, I can’t believe how much she has grown – not only in height but her personality. She is so much like her big sister and what a great role model Firecracker is. Little one’s poses just kill me. Her pose in the shadowy pool picture was absolutely the best! I am loving your posts on the trip. It brings me back every day to our trip. Our kids were 6 and 1 and 1/2. We had a small TV/VCR combo on the console of our suburban. It was so long ago I don’t think cars had TVs in them yet. We played Sesame Street videos most of the day and I would lay down in the hotel bed at night and those songs would play over and over in my head. It was a trip I will never forget and I know your family won’t forget yours either.

  • Heather - I love how your kids are surrounded by colour!

  • Brittney - I am going CRAZY over that anthropologie dishtowel! Is there a collection name on the tag?

  • Samantha // The Everyday Thoughts - Seriously? There’s still snow on the ground in JUNE? Whaaat? California is having a crazy drought this year, so there wasn’t any snow on the ground in January/February. Send some of that our way, please! (:

  • sarah - I love how you made that old camper look so cool! I would have never thought of it. I’ve been a long time follower and have been meaning to ask- by chance do your kids watch TV, ever?? (Not on a roasd trip, of course) they are always doing such fun, outdoor stuff, I was just curious. …and I wonder if I could get my husband on board with buying an old camper…??? Once again, you have inspired me!

  • Seriously Sassy Mama - Oh how I love me an Arnold Palmer!

  • bethanyb - I love how open and down to earth you are about things. It’s not like other blogs I read. It’s so much more real… and beautiful. Life is holes in the table cloths, little breaths alone, and tinny helpful finger not ‘perfect’ houses, fancy cars, and white collars. Its enjoying the three minutes alone and long days together. :)

  • Taylor - Glad you guys are having fun! I love that curtain that you (your mom) made! Where did she find that dishtowel at?

    xoxo
    Taylor

  • Jenn - my crawfish post I mentioned on your crawfish post.
    yum!
    I noticed in your comments from other people that they thought the same. :)

    http://mja527.blogspot.com/2014/06/crawfish-time.html

  • The Sunday Scroll - […] is motivating me to learn to use my sewing machine: This awesome post about a cool trailer from Ashley Ann […]

  • Seamingly Sarah - It is all awesomeness! It’s totally you and your family. I may not go that direction, but it’s fun to appreciate someone else’s sense of aesthetics.

  • Irene Wiranata - LO is just too cute! She’s grown so big now, and yes – agreed with the other reader, Firecracker somehow shaping her personality. Love the photo of her eating with the “classic chinese” bowl :D

  • Kelli Helm - Can I ask what sort of bug spray you use on you and your kids? We tried some different options this weekend, but didn’t have a ton of luck with anything we tried while on the trails… I’d really appreciate a little insight :) Thanks!

  • elizabeth H - looooove all your colorful loveliness inside your camper ~
    what a perfect little place!!

Hiking makes me happy, happy, happy! Naturally, hiking has evolved for Chris and I as we’ve gone from a dating couple to a family of seven. The toddler years were rough. Though we still have a toddler, the boys are all at such fun ages for being outside and active. They can carry their own packs and are excited about the adventure of exploring. I loved hiking alone with Chris, but it might be even more fun now taking the boys. The girls do  really well, but they don’t quite have the same endurance yet. We’ve been hiking every day – being outside makes for relaxed parents and kids that sleep well at night:)
6.14hiking1-0016.14hiking1-003  This next hike was a few hours along a creek. We only saw one other person the whole time – it was awesome!6.14hiking1-0056.14hiking1-0066.14hiking1-007

He learned that every naturalist should carry a camera and a sketchbook. He is quickly filling up his memory card.6.14hiking1-0096.14hiking1-0106.14hiking1-0126.14hiking1-013

Like I said – the girls don’t have quite the endurance the boys do. Chris is a good man.6.14hiking1-0146.14hiking1-015On one of our hikes a local woman began telling us a story about finding a black bear in her kitchen. She then started arranging our family in a group and told us to raise our arms up high. So there we were all standing in a group with our arms raised in the middle of a trail. Then she explained if we see a bear that is what we should do to scare it away – make ourselves as big as we can.6.14hiking1-016

I’m pretty sure we’ll scare anything away that comes near.

I also feel I need to warn you there will be a lot of pictures from this trip on my blog this month. I’ve got grandparents and great-grandparents that are missing my kids and I need to keep them happy!

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  • Avenlea - Good! I love hearing about your adventures!!

  • Mek - Oh don’t worry we LOVED seeing all the pics from your trip! Keep them coming! Have fun and stay safe :)

  • danielle - Awesome. This makes me want to hit the road. We just got back from Arkansas on a hiking trip and I already miss it :) Have a great trip! I love sharing things like this with my boys!

  • Joe - Love the pictures! How about a hiking with children post for beginners???

  • Jenni - Bring on the pictures! I am about to have number 5 and although obviously I am over the moon, it is a little intimidating. How will I please a 9 year old all the way down to a newborn?!! You make it seem so easy. Not that it really is that easy but these smiles with give kids while hiking me me realize that everything will be perfect because we’ll be happy.

  • Beth - That is the best family picture!

    I am very excited to live vicariously through you on your trip! We’re hoping for 3 weeks with the ultimate destination of Montana next summer.

  • Amy Espinosa - LOVE the picture of you two on the posts and that last family one is perfect! Don’t you just love the people you meet up with while out hiking. They are just the greatest! Have many adventures and share away!

  • Carol - Thank you sweet daughter for the pics. Love them and miss all 7 of you.

  • Debbie C - I’m excited to see more pics! These kids are so blessed to have such adventurous parents. Question…where does everyone shower/get clean?

  • emmybrown - I’m so glad you have grandparents and great grandparents you need to keep happy……because then I can be happy too! :)

  • Taylor - I love the pictures! I wish I was hiking that much right now! I can’t wait to see more of the trip.

    xoxo
    Taylor

  • DebZorn - What a wonderful time for your family. I love that your girls hike in dresses! Your entire family is adorable. Thanks for sharing a bit of your adventure.

  • angie - No need to apologize for all the pictures….. I am sure everyone who reads your blog is MORE then happy to see them!

  • Catherine - I second Joe’s comment! I would really like to go hiking with my kids but I just have no clue about it. Where to go, what safety measures to take (I am not a native North American and mentions of things like poison ivy and bears doesn’t really warm my heart to the idea!!), how long to go for with kids etc. Do we all have to buy special shoes? We don’t really have the budget to do that. Anyway, any tips would be great!

  • mandi@herbanhomestead - Keep the pics coming! I am loving your IG feed right now too! It is so awesome that you guys have made the choices you’ve made in order for this to happen. I’ve been trying to figure out how we can get out and see more of the country in our airstream, but you know how hard it is to travel when you are a minister in a church. It makes it tricky to get away on consecutive sundays. Anyway, enough about me! You guys are seeing some beautiful places and I know you are squeezing the last drop out of it!!!

  • kimberly oyler - keep the pictures coming. although they are making me seriously miss alaska. i know you’re not in alaska, but the hiking and the nature and the wide open air all feels the same. you’re also really making me want to do crossfit. but lets be real, that will never happen. #tooscared

  • Eva - These photos are so awesome. I, for one, can’t wait to see all the photos you share to keep the grandparents and great-grandparents happy.

  • Necole@seriouslysassymama - This makes me so excited about our three day trip we are taking to Turner Falls and the Arbuckle mountains. I actually got my husband to take a few days off of work so we can swim, hike, and adventure. It is very important to keep the grandparents updated.

  • Kelly - We love hiking! My husband & I used to go backpacking all the time pre-kiddos. Our youngest is now 6 and has built up quite a bit of endurance (he actually lasted the longest on our last hike!) we’re looking forward to doing it again.

  • RaD - Yay! I love fun posts that are full of lots of pictures and adventure! Bring it on!

  • Erica - I think it is safe to say that we all enjoy these pictures too! Love the one of you and your son on the fence posts, so fun!

  • Laura S. - I can’t wait to see more pictures. I have very fond childhood memories. My parents took my brother and I all over the western United States camping. We started out in a little camper like yours and eventually Dad wanted something a bit bigger. We went from a 14 foot camper to a 33 foot motorhome. I am 48 now, and those childhood memories flood back every once in a while. I am going to tell my Dad this Father’s Day how grateful I am for all those wonderful vacations.

  • bethanyb - I don’t mind seeing your sweet family enjoying Gods amazing creation on bit. :) I’m actually excited to see how the ‘living in an RV’ works out for you all.

  • Rachel G - I love it! How much fun for your family!

  • Betsy - awesome pictures ! Can’t wait for more– and what a great family picture– a framer for sure !

    Memories for a lifetime are being made

    Love Betsy

  • Meg - I love the photos. I am curious to how you hike with your camera. Also, Do you pose your kids? Ask them to hold still for a moment while you snap a photo? I try to shoot my kiddos as candidly as possible but they move so fast! I would love to hear some tips about how you travel with your camera and how you get such clear, candid shot of your kiddos :)

  • Haley - Can you share any hiking with kids tips? Specifically young toddlers in my case, but I’m still interested in tips for any age. I’m impressed that the girls are hiking in skirts… and that Chris is carrying both the girls.
    Thanks for sharing these!

  • Diana - Amazing!! This makes me miss family camping vacations from my childhood. Enjoy!!

  • Emily - What a fun trip! I can’t wait for more pictures!

  • Candace - you should all get on each others shoulders and that would really scare away the bear =)

  • Jenn - super fantasmic.
    love this…..all of it

  • Christina - What a great family photo! I love everything about this post :) Wonderful memories for those kiddos

  • Emiles - Just wanted you to know…Love without Boundaries has a surprise shop today on Sevenly!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - YAY! All the pictures makes us happy, too!

  • Heather - Loving all the photos! Can’t wait to see the photos of Glacier. I hope Going to the Sun Road opens while you are there…your kiddos will love all the snow. It’s pretty amazing with all the plowing they do. My grandfather helped build that road. You should check them out on Facebook-if you haven’t done so already. I’ll be out there July 8th! My home away from home…where a big part of my heart is. My mom grew up on Lake McDonald.

  • Megan - These pictures are amazing! I want a family adventure like this!

  • Beth in the City - I traveled like this with my parents, brother and sister, and great aunt and uncle when I was young. I loved it and I’m enjoying your family’s trip so much!

  • Kristin S - Those last two (not bear) photos? Ashley, those are keepers. Daddy/daughters ultimate photo. What true love and care. Great family pic too.

  • Eva - Beautiful pics! It is very alike to my country, we have a beautiful hills and Waters, it reminds me on my beautiful country.

  • katie - Your trip looks like a blast!
    That is so something that sounds like a dream to do!
    I think you mentioned you were coming to Montana, and Kalispell. That is our home, and Welcome, Welcome! :) Travel safe! :)

  • Clare - Lovely photos – sounds like an amazing holiday. Btw…where are those beautiful falls?

  • Heidi Jo the Artist - Love hiking! Looks like you guys are having a blast!