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!

Below is a list of some of the places we visited while in the area:

Steamboat Springs, CO

  • we explored all over this town and surrounding areas for about a week. You can find tons of things to do on the city website.
  • Fish Creek falls – great hike for young kids
  • Sarvis Creek – drove until the road ended and then hiked (really rough, single lane road)
  • Pearl Lake
  • Steamboat State Park
  • Botanical Gardens – kids loved this
  • Dumont Lake – closed access (but we found a way in ???? )
  • Hiked to the top of the ski slope – drove up as far as we could, then hiked
  • Alpine Slide – my kids loved this
  • Horseback riding – my son and I made a date of this, he soaked it up
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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.


  • 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!

It was around 10:30 am, I was working on my computer and Chris walked in. He said he found a trailer out of state that was just listed that morning and he knew it was perfect for us. He had been a bit addicted to Craigslist and online RV forums, so it was easy to trust he knew what he was talking about. I asked him when he wanted to go look at it.

Him – “Now.”

Me – “Now? As in load up kids right NOW? Are you serious?”

Then he said something along the lines of potentially bad weather was headed our way and we had a little over 48 hours to get there and back. 30 minutes later we were loaded and headed out of state. It was a whirlwind trip and thankfully he was right – the trailer was a perfect fit our our family and budget. We arrived home long before any bad weather.

The trailer pretty much just sat since last fall while we worked on house projects. Then about 2 weeks ago, we started giving it some updates to make it feel more like home. My mom and dad helped. Our friend Nick so kindly and generously helped Chris (more like Chris helped Nick) put in laminate floors. We owe him big time for knocking that project out so quickly for us. Other than replacing the floors, we mainly did cosmetic work – painting everything white (of course) and adding fabric.


Come on in and have a peek.

Before ~ After6.14aviontour-005

Before ~ After6.14aviontour-0076.14aviontour-0096.14aviontour-010

The trailer has a lot of built in storage under and above the beds, which is so essential for our family. We considered removing the top storage compartments to build bunk beds, but we are waiting to make sure that is what we want. Currently, we slide a board out between the beds and put a mattress on the board and a mattress under it on the ground (kind of like a bunk bed). Four kids sleep on the top part and one sleeps under it. It is working while the kids are little, but we’ll have to change it up before the girls get much bigger. On the other side of that curtain is a bathroom.6.14aviontour-0136.14aviontour-014

The dining area folds down into a bed for Chris and me. As long as we have good weather and a table outside, we’ll leave the bed down instead of folding it all up each day. Plus, it is super inviting and cozy! We have a curtain between the two areas so we can have light on in our area at night while the kids are sleeping. There is also a full-size fridge in the middle of the trailer!6.14aviontour-0166.14aviontour-017

I’ll share some more posts on how I made different things, if you have any questions about it let me know.  Pretty much everything I used was stuff I had on hand (good thing I’ve collected stained vintage tablecloths for so long!). I had a couple of Anthropologie gift cards I used to splurge on some napkins (for curtains) and all the cute knobs.

Here are the ‘sources’ I used:

Pillows: IKEA inserts, I used random sheets, fabrics and tablecloths to make the pillow covers

Yellow pillow: Passive Juice Motel

Quilts: my aunt made most of them;  the white on the bed was handmade gift from Rachel Denbow

Small curtains: tablecloths I cut up; napkins from Anthropologie

Light teal curtain: another one of my old tablecloths, I added lace tabs to allow air to reach the back of the trailer

Teal ruffled curtain: tea towel from Anthropologie, my mom added ruffles made from an old table cloth and my old duvet cover

Wire basket: a gift from a friend, I spray painted it green

Hanging USA hankie: a vintage one I picked up a couple years ago

Knobs: Anthropologie

Laminate flooring: a freebie from a friend

Paint: glossy white – for easy cleaning

Let’s Sleep Under the Stars print: Katie Daisy

Cloud pillow: Gathering Wishes

I still have little things to add – a few other prints and little details. I’ll probably update this post as I work on the trailer. I’ll also add a better exterior shot soon. I asked Chris if it bothered him that the trailer was so ‘girly’. He said, “Nope, it feels like home.” Indeed it does….

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  • Amanda - LOVE!!!!! This is such a dream of mine to do! Yours is just perfection! Have fun making memories in your dreamy camper! :)

  • Amy Espinosa - I’m swooning. Just swooning. WOW!

  • amy jupin - i just don’t think this could get any cuter or any more “ashley”. i love it. happy trails!!

  • Jenni - Seriously?!! This looks amazing! It makes me want to go camping:). How much fun!

  • danielle - That is so cute! Great job!

  • Lisa W. - Beautiful! All your hard work paid off! (Where did you get that adorable fly swatter, by the way?)

  • Dana - the fact that the camper is so adorable…is second only to the wonderful family memories that you will create in it!! growing up, my family had a similar camper. We took many trips in it. And even though part of the time I was a grumpy teenager (I am the oldest child) I still consider those days some of my FAVORITE memories!

  • Haley - I love this! It makes me want to go out and get a trailer.

  • Kari - My husband has been looking for the “perfect” trailer for nine years now. Every summer he promises me that this is the year. You think your husband could write him a letter and be like “dude, pull the trigger already.”

  • Jenn - it is perfect. I love it

  • jamie - Your trailer is beautiful and awesome!!! I hope you and your family enjoy many soaring smiles together!

  • kelli - It’s perfect! Love it!

  • Jackie - Absolutely love it!!!

  • Tessa - Beautiful! My husband and I are looking to buy a trailer for our family, but keep running into the issue of the weight being pulled by a mini van. What’s the weight of your trailer and what car do you pull it with that holds your whole family? Thank you so much!

  • Amy - It’s fantastic! Do you think Chris could share his tips on finding a vintage trailer and maybe websites that helped the process? Hope you have a lovely trip.

  • Melissa - For the first time in my ENTIRE LIFE I would be interested in camping, so long as I was in this (I am a city girl, through and through!). Great job!

  • Erica - Looks like a good time to be had by all! Can you take a pic of the sleeping arrangement for the kiddos? I would love to see your creative solution. :) Thank you for sharing your adventures with us, your honesty and joy is so inspiring!

  • Rachel Kaylynn - It turned out lovely. It’s great how your kids got involved in the process too – such a fun place to have an adventure.

  • carrie - Fabulous! Never seen a trailer quite like this, what kind is it?

    Have fun!

  • erin m - It’s so cute!! I can’t wait to hear about your travels in this fun trailer!!

  • jules - seriously the cutest makeover… such a warm & inviting space! jealous. this could make me want to camp again!

  • Sprite - Only you could turn a trailer into such a darling abode! It is lovely! What fun memories you will make and adventures you will have. So happy for your family! :)

  • kimberly oyler - when did little one get so big?? this trailer is beautiful. i bet this will also be a nice place to escape little people once you’re home again. :)

  • Taylor - Love love love it!


  • Betsy - So so so cute and cozy!!! Happy trails to you!!!

  • sarah - this is just awesome!! I have been looking at Craigslist myself for a little vintage trailer! :)

  • Angie K - How amazing and fun! I quit my job about 8 months ago and really wanted to do something like this with my family. We live on the outskirts of Washington DC and I am itching to get away. I was born in California and lived until 20 in the midwest. Politics Central? Not quite for me! But I got a little stuck after I joined the military and got stationed here. They gave me a great job, I had a few kids, and 15 YEARS later I’m trying my hardest to get away!!!

    My biggest hurdle is school. I think I’d be a terrible homeschool mom. I’m too distractible and think I’d forget the kids need to learn!

    I love love love your little home though. Inspires me to continue dreaming for my family!!!

  • Leila - I have been waiting for this! I LOVE IT! I’m going to put it on our link round-up on Saturday, and somehow I need my husband to decide that getting something like this is his idea, which is not really in the realm of possibilities, but hey! A girl can wish :)

    It looks amazing!

  • mel - Beautiful…just like your family!

  • Pamela - I love your Avion!!! I have been the proud owner of an old Argosy and I just swooned over your post. Lovely work at updating it.

    Welcome to the Tin Can Club!

  • Debbie C - So pretty and so Ashley! :) Love it.

  • laura - I love everything!

  • Izzy - Wow, I’m so impressed with how beautiful and spacious it looks inside your trailer! Everything seems so well worked out. Hope your enjoying your trip : )

  • elizabeth H - {{LOVE}} everything.little.thing!!
    EVERYTHING!!! the end.

  • Jenny B. - It’s very awesome — as is everything you touch. Two weeks?? You guys are amazing (as are all your amazing helpers). :)

  • Jenn - How do you faux the board for the bunk so it won’t slide around and fall?
    Does the trailer have heat and air?
    Very cute updating!

  • donna - Just found a site you might like backyardchickens.com has some great ideas.

  • Nancy Jennings - great job, we have owned a 1957 Avion and 1975. the 57 was bought by my grandfather in 1957 and has been in regular use since then. Our 75 we found on craiglist and we use that one also… families grow and camping has been a part of our love and my kids with their family continue to enjoy it with us. have fun with yours, it will last forever.

  • Nori - That is absolutely gorgeous!! So happy, cheery, and cozy! You are so gifted! I’m so excited to see all the adventures your family will have in this fun trailer!!

  • Jenny - I love what you did to the inside of the trailer. Looks very homey.

  • Rach - Gorgeous. I cannot wait to do the same. Such a fun way to travel.

  • Julie - You have that magic touch that turns everything into something beautiful and inspiring!…..God has gifted you, and you in turn, gift us through your blog! Thank you for the tour!

  • Joy Fisher - Hi Ashley, did you by chance follow along with Joy Prouty’s blog last year when she and her family of 4 small ones downsized and traveled/lived out of their trailer similar to yours. You might find lots of ideas/inspiration for the trailer and use of space by checking out that section of her blog. Here’s the link: http://wildflowersphotos.com/category/our-trailer-renovations/

    And, I second what one of the earlier commentors said about doing a write up with Chris’ tips and tricks on finding a trailer via craigslist/on a budget.

    Love it all! Thanks, Joy :)

  • Melissa - Oh my gosh how perfect and cute. I LOVE It!!! Motivates me to get working on our camper again.

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Did you know that Gathering Wishes is here in Phoenix?! They are always at Junk in the Trunk and it is so fun!

  • Eva - This trailer is soooo YOU! I love it! And I can’t wait to see all the fun and adventures you have as a family in your Rosie/Soda Can. We have had Miss Peggy for almost a year now. And as much as we love her, our needs are too much for her. Sniff sniff. We are looking to “upgrade” her to a motor coach some time this year. If you know of anybody who’s interested in a gently used (practically new) 35′ bunkhouse travel trailer, let me know. 😉

  • Siew - We have a 1975 Airstream Safari and I love it to bits. Whenever we go anywhere in it, it attracts attention from some old timers who inevitably had one 25 or so years ago. They come along with wonderful tips and things we never knew about our trailer. Our daughter is 9 and has almost 30,000 road trip kilometers under her bottom. She will have amazing memories of travelling in the trailer as I’m sure your family will build. Looking forward to hearing about your adventures.

  • Belindq - This is so beautiful! I would really love to travel in this trailer.

  • Angie - Ashley, you make me long for simplicity, family, and long lazy summer days. Thank you for sharing all those things with me. Right now our lives are constant ballgames (my daughter pitches for a traveling team), photo shoots, two full time jobs between the hubs and I, and he is in a play that requires almost daily practices. My hope and wish is that next summer we can create a summer bucket list and live it up with our kiddo’s! Enjoy your vacation and keep the posts coming!

  • mandi@herbanhomestead - Oh girl- you know I LOVED this post! I’ve been waiting for a little tour! Chris and my husband should be besties. We have TWO vintage trailers sitting in our driveway, yet John still peruses ads for another. Your trailer turned out great! I can’t wait to start making ours more “us”. Do you have a working stove/oven in yours?

  • Jessica Thornton - IN LOVE.

  • Katie - Oh it’s so cozy!! I bet one of your kids will be an author (or blogger!) when they get older and they’ll have so many great experiences to share!

  • Jolene - Would love to go camping with this! So cute!!

  • Paige - This is seriously SO COOL!

  • Wendy - I LOVE your trailer!

  • Rachel - Here’s a link to watch the movie “The Long Long Trailer” for free! Saved my life during a very very long plane ride last week and it made me think of this amazing adventure you’re on! http://touch.dailymotion.com/video/xmtjo3_the-long-long-trailer_shortfilms

    It’s always fun to see Lucy and Ricky in the movies!

  • Tracy A - Ashley, I’m having a hard time picturing where all the kiddos sleep…they must share the two beds and one goes on the floor? It is such a dreamy trailer!

  • Melissa - Amazing! Your home will feel huge after this month! :). I’ll have to send you pics of our trailer sometime.
    Where is your “summer” dishtowel(?) from? I believe your notes said Anthro, but I just looked and didn’t see available. If it is from there, was that some time ago?
    Thanks! Beautiful tour. Feels like summer. :)

  • emily - So fun! Our camper has been begging for a make-over but we can’t stop playing!

  • Charity G. - This is so awesome. My husband and I crashed with my siter’s family (of four) while I was pregnant a few years back (we still brought us and three little ones) in their trailer. It was interesting fitting everyone together, but I loved that trip. It still stands out as one of our most favorite vacations. Since then I’ve thought about getting a trailer for our crew. I don’t know that I could convince my husband to let me fix a trailer up, but your’s is awesome!

  • {bits & pieces} - […] my dear husband that something like this would be entirely his own idea. I was so excited that Ashley was re-doing a camper. To tell the truth, I am not entirely sure that I don’t agree with my dear husband that […]

  • Elizabeth - OMG! Everything about this is so cute including your children. Ah, to be young again! I definitely would do this.

  • Jenn - Are u guys taking two vehicles or did u find a van that all of the kids fit in and has towing power? With only three kids I’m having a hard time finding an affordable , large enough truck able to pull a camper.
    Thanks for any input u are willing to share.

  • Se7en's Fabulous Fun Post #226... - se7en | se7en - […] incredible is Under the Sycamore’s Trailer Tour… I think I need a summer vacation right about […]

  • JulieB - I have a 1978 airstream that we are gutting! My dad gave it to me (free is a good thing!) and we picked it up in OR! It wasn’t sleepable,but it did serve as our giant porta-potty on the drive back!! Since it was kept by the ocean there was lots of mold and not much to salvage…but I’ve almost got all of the stuff out and then I will be pulling out the floors and replacing them and the walls!! I have four kids and I’m definitely doing the bunk beds. There are some really neat ones out there and I’ll be building them from scratch. Love your curtain for the bathroom! So much prettier than those old sliding doors!! Happy Trailer Travels!!

  • elizabeth H - have i said how i love all this?!
    {love it. every bit.}

  • So this happened… | We Roll Along - […] to the wise never show your husband the adorable camper you saw on Under the Sycamore unless you want to send up with one of these a month […]

  • Cody newcome - Hi Ashley; I am wondering if you recovered the camper cushions. If so, how did you do it and what did you use. Thanks!

  • Vintage Camper Remodel Envy - Run To Radiance - […] Like this one, from Ashley at Under the Sycamore: […]

  • Brenda Johnson - I love it!

A little over a year ago I stood in Chris’ office helping him pack his things into boxes. It was a hard day. He was stepping away from a job he loved and stepping into the unknown. On that day neither of us really felt like smiling. We loaded his million books into boxes, dumped the remaining pens into a bag and got ready to make a final trip to the car. It was a sad day for us both, but I knew I wanted to remember that moment. I wanted a picture to document that ending of one season and the beginning of a new one. I grabbed my phone and we both faked our best smiles.

Shortly after, I wrote the following here on my blog:

“Several weeks back Chris resigned from a job he loved at a place that has been part of our family for 10 years. This week begins his first official week no longer there. Moving forward is even harder when you treasure what is left behind.

As a couple and family, we are taking steps into the unknown. We are dreaming of what could be. We don’t have a specific plan. He doesn’t have a job lined up. We’ve made financial decisions for years that allow us a little freedom now to take a big jump and hope in the end we’re flying instead of crashing. I’ll be the main ‘bread winner’ for a while and I’m excited to see Chris get to take a few risks and chase ideas to see where they lead. It is an honor to stand by him as he dreams, knowing for so long it has been him cheering me on as I dream.

But it is scary. I’m plagued by the ‘what ifs’….

I’ll be teaching more SnapShops and I’ve been working on a phone photography course (hopefully to be released soon), but I still battle the fears of what if no one signs up. It only takes a quick glance on Instagram or other blogs for me to begin feeling inadequate to teach others, thinking so many more could do a much better job than I can. I worry about juggling homeschool and working more hours and the new normal of a changed daily routine. I worry about messing it all up and letting everyone down. I could make a long list of all my fears. Of all my worries. Of all the reasons I think we shouldn’t chase our dreams. Of all the reasons we should stick with stable and comfortable.

And then I remember….I don’t want fear to take me places I was never meant to be…

So when those fears and worries creep in, I’m taking my thoughts captive and I’m making the leap. Maybe we will crash. But maybe we’ll soar.”

It has been a year now and we didn’t crash. Sure, there were really hard days. There were many fears – those same fears still creep in today. We got a few bruises and I’ve had plenty of moments where I felt like I was drowning, but we didn’t crash.

During the last year we bought an Avion – “a flying machine”.  I love that our trailer bears that name. We are taking this month to celebrate making it through the last year…we are doing some soaring as a family.


A year ago we faked our smiles. We were confident in our decision, but it was still so scary and sad. There are still a lot of unkonwns for us and still fears that creep in, but we are learning a deeper trust that God will supply all our needs. And He has supplied not just our needs, but far more than we could want. We’ve been given the last year together as a family. A hard, challenging, beautiful year.  We’ve grown as a couple. We’ve grown as a family. We’ve grown in our faith. This year, we are smiling. Big, soaring, happy smiles.


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  • Tiffany - Wonderful!

  • RachelC - I love this so much. I’m so proud of you for walking one step at a time…trusting God with each step. I love those beautiful smiles. Enjoy your rich time together in your soaring machine. What a beautiful and inspiring story.

  • danielle - Congrats! Love the smiles!

  • stephany - I love this! Congratulations to you and your husband for being faith-full and fearless.

  • Debbie C - Ashley, you always inspire with your day to day life and also these big steps! I hope I can be as adventurous and trusting in my own life and faith.

  • Melanie - May God bless you and keep you on your journey!! You are an inspiration. Sometimes the “falls” can be pretty spectacular! And thanks for “taking us along!”

  • michelle - That’s beautiful. Thank you for being so candid and honest. You are a woman of true inspiration- you and your entire family inspire me everyday. Thank you.
    Looking forward to hearing more about your travels, it sounds like a blast!

  • the inadvertent farmer - Seasons of change are hard and scary…yet so full full of excitement for the unknown and dreamed of! Your sweet family is in my thoughts and prayers as you are adventuring. Enjoy God’s beautiful handiwork (Glacier is beyond words) and cherish this time with your little ones. Bring back cherished memories and oodles of photos to share with us! Love Kim

  • Amy Espinosa - Oh, that little glimpse of the trailer made my heart go pitter-patter! Can’t wait to see more and then I can start figuring on how to make that dream come to fruition in our frugile little life! Thank you for sharing!

  • emmybrown - LOVE!

  • Rachel - i so know about leaving the familiar and stepping out into the unknown and even though it’s hard, documenting the smiles and embracing the next things. life is hard, but, He makes it beautiful, doesn’t He?
    love that you guys are taking time to soar in this new year!

  • Jenna Lou - Such a sacred journey it is to follow your heart. I truly believe it is a way to glorify God. Congratulations on a year well earned.

    My husband just started a new job in ministry this month after 8 years of construction. It’s been a big change to say the least, but we couldn’t be happier about it. All the bumps and ups and downs will build our character and faith.

  • merry - That is so awesome!!!! God is so faithful- thanks for the reminder and the inspiration to keep livin the dream!! :)

  • Ethel White - GOD’S continued Blessings on your family. Your witness inspires both OLD and young alike.

  • Erika - Beautiful, Love this post!! Your words are so inspiring.

  • Rachael - Your stories always touch me. Thank you for taking the time to document AND to share with strangers. Your faith touches mine and urges me to keep going deeper. Thank you.

  • Abbye Cornwell - Hey, Ashley
    Thank you so much for sharing on your blog. It is so good to see God’s faithfulness to you over the past but to also hear that trusting the Lord is sometimes REALLY difficult. My husband and I feel like we are in limbo right now–hopefully able to begin the process of church planting soon, but that means raising support, moving 9 hours from everything I’ve known and loved for 28 years, and with a baby on the way. I’ve just finished a 6-year stint serving in college ministry and am now looking for some type of income. Hopefully I will have my little business up and running soon. I have all types of feelings and insecurities about starting a business of my own! Anyway, I’m so thankful for your commitment to your husband and your support of him and your commitment to trust the Lord even when it seems crazy. It helps me feel less crazy and more resolved to step out in faith and see what the Lord has in store. I don’t want to give way to my fears and miss out on more of Him. Waiting and watching Him supply our financial needs this first month of not having a job was difficult and SO wonderful. Reading your posts over the past 4 years have shaped me in some of the very best ways. I have been encouraged, challenged, and inspired. I always look forward to hearing from you on your blog. I’m not even sure how I originally came across it! But so glad I did! Just wanted to say hey and thank you. :)

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - I’m so thankful for our faithful Savior. Praying prayers of protection and strength.

  • Tammy - I went to your blog this morning because I needed a reset. I have a client that I’m working with right now that is less then delightful. I needed a moment to step back, take a deep breath and reset so that I didn’t take my frustration out on my family or my client. This post was a wonderful reset. Thanks.

  • Ann Voskamp - When we are in over our heads — we touch the depths of God…. and He carries us up on wings of grace!
    This is the year you fly, dear friend!
    I send more love than these thin letters can hold!

  • kimberly oyler - love this ashley.

  • Paige - Wow. Cheering for you!

  • Tara - This post—those emotions—-come at a perfect time for me. This Friday I will step away from my career to pursue new family dreams! I can relate to so much of what you wrote as we transition to a one income family, but I am also excited and grateful for the opportunity that is shaping a new future for our family. We are chasing dreams we would have never imagined and never pursued had God not led us here!

  • Shannon - Wow! I can’t believe your timing. I needed to hear this. I never comment on here but have followed you for a long time and even taken your phone photograph course. But I had to say something because my husband just left his good, stable job to follow a dream. I am in the same boat you were, I will be the main bread winner and I have been fretting for a month about this decision. He too has supported me in my dreams and now it is my turn to support him. He has far more potential with his new job to soar, but the risks and the “what if’s” weigh me down. Your words capture exactly what I’m feeling, just more beautifully stated. I’m going to remember your words “I don’t want fear to take me places I was never meant to be…” How beautiful is that! Thank you for writing this. You have no idea how perfect your timing is on this.

  • Carrie Campbell - Good job! :)

  • Alycia - You should name the trailer Amelia. Amelia the flying machine. :)

  • Trish - “Leap and a net will appear” is one of my favorite sayings. Glad it’s worked for you guys! :)

  • Melissa Kaiserman {A Time for Everything} - I love this! We made a very similar move nearly two years ago when my husband resigned from his job (though in his case, it was toxic) without another one waiting. We, too, are closer as a couple and as a family, and even though there are moments that feel a little unsteady, we don’t regret our step of faith one bit!

  • Sarah - Thank you for being this open – I know your blog stays away from personal struggles and issues. Which is fine, and a personal decision. I love reading, but sometimes it’s easy for one to assume that everything is perfect and wonderful for your (wonderful!) family all the time. Thank you for the moments where you open up a bit.

    I’ve always wondered how one would go about being self employed while supporting a family!

  • Jenny B. - This is great! So happy for you guys. I am not that brave. It is hard to be brave. I hope you continue to soar. P.S. When I saw Chris smiling in that last photo, I couldn’t help but picture some of Little One’s smiles after you first brought her home (with her cute little nose wrinkles). :)

  • Jenn - enjoy the adventure. what awesome memories for your family. love reading your updates

  • Suzanne - I’ve been reading your blog for several years now, praying I would someday have a family of my own to have adventures and as much fun as you and your family do. My wish finally came true in April! We were blessed with our first baby. Now we are trying to figure out home I can stay home and my husband be the only one bringing in the money. It’s so hard, but this post makes me feel so much better. Thank you for reminding me whose hands it is in.

  • Amábile - Dear Ashley, your blog is a terrific inspiration for me. Sometimes you write exactly what I need to read and I can’t help being amazed by how wonderful God is. I hope you and your family are always this brave. I hope you keep on being such an amazing lady. Thank you for sharing this particular story, it spoke directly to my heart.

  • elizabeth H - lovely.perfectly lovely. HE TRULY MAKES ALL THINGS LOVELY!!
    your life is a living testimony of {not only} His faithfulness…
    but His {ABUNDANT FAVOR}!
    His plans for us are always good. His faithfulness is never ending.
    blessings upon blessings to you, Chris & the kiddos!
    HAVE FUN!!

  • Kristi - I so needed to read this today. I am in the middle of packing up my office from a job I’ve held for 10 years. Our lives changed it crazy ways last year and my husband quit his job in October, and I’m now quitting so that I can assist him in our new projects and be free to travel with him and our 18 month old son full time. In most people’s eyes it doesn’t make sense for us to leave our good-paying jobs with benefits, but God has bigger plans for us, and we know He’ll keep providing opportunities for us if we follow Him! But that doesn’t mean it isn’t sad or scary to leave my job. It’s comfortable, but God doesn’t want us to be comfortable. And we’re excited for the next adventure He has us on! People like you inspire me and make me feel less crazy. God has done some amazing things with you and your family and will continue to do so!

  • Nori Matsumoto - Blessings all over you two! Thank you for sharing your amazing journey with us in beautiful way that you do and for inspiring and giving the rest of us courage to dream and take that leap!

  • Daniel - Ashley,
    I, like many others, probably found this post at just the right time. During the last 5 months as my wife and I strive towards a better life for our family it feels as though we’re about to drown at any moment. As our heads begin to go under it’s as if the Lord gently lifts our chins above the water for another breath of much needed fresh air. I do not know when the water will subside, but I do know he’s with us and what awaits us is more then we could ever deserve or ask for. Thank you for your blog and for sharing your life with all of us.

  • Heidi Jo the Artist - Trusting God is so hard sometimes. Awesome post!

  • Stacey - “I don’t want fear to take me places I was never meant to be…” Amen. Our family is on a similar journey and I am inspired by your honesty and faith to walk the unknown. It’s exhilarating and right where I think I’m supposed to be right now! Thank you for sharing – I love getting to follow along. :)