shrouded beauty | Kettle Falls, WA

I’m sitting on my mom’s back porch, swaying with the breeze on her porch swing. The wind chimes are competing with the rustling leaves for my attention while I occasionally check in on the chess game unfolding before me between my mom and oldest son.

Photo: Watch out grandma, he’s pulled out a chess book!

SHROUDED IN SMOKE

We’ve been parked in her driveway for over a week and our hearts have been filled with a myriad of memories in that brief blink of time. When we first arrived in Northeast Washington, forest fires provided a blanket, shrouding the mountains in smoke.

Photo: Notice the mountains heavily obscured in the distance.

I grew up here. I’ve driven these roads and skied these waters. My mind is able to pull back the curtain of smoke and know that despite the layers hiding it, beauty is here. Continue reading “shrouded beauty | Kettle Falls, WA”

less excuses, more accountability

It’s been crickets here on the blog for over a week. We’ve all been soaking up long overdue grandma and grandpa time in Minnesota.

The kids have rediscovered forgotten toys hidden deep in upstairs closets. Trent has been diligently working his way down a list of RV updates and repairs and I’ve been playing monopoly and dominoes, reading, sewing and working out. It’s been awesome. All of it. Except maybe for the working out. That’s been super tough.

LESS EXCUSES

In April I told you that I was working on developing a habit of regular exercise. In the spirit of transparency, I thought I’d check in and let you know how that has been going.
January: 0 workouts
February: 0 workouts
::NEW HABIT BEGINS::
March: 20 workouts
April: 24 workouts
May: 16 workouts
June: 13 workouts
July: 4 workouts
So that downward trend is less than awesome. I have excuses all lined up and ready but I’m not going to bother with them. Continue reading “less excuses, more accountability”

our Harvest Hosts experience | Nationwide

Note to my regular readers: the post below about our Harvest Hosts experience was written in Niagara, NY the day before our truck engine drama began. Our breakdown suddenly became the most interesting topic to write about and this post got set aside. I am thankful to report that as of Monday evening we have successfully escaped Canada! I hope to write more about our exodus in the future. For now, you can hop on over to my Instagram feed to get a sneak peak of our new truck and the excitement our kids had as they ran into Grandma and Grandpa’s arms in Minnesota.

And now I will return to our previously scheduled programing…

Statistically speaking we should have had a disappointment by now. For the fifth time in five weeks we’ve parked our 5th wheel on a stranger’s property with nothing but a Harvest Hosts website linking the two of us together and each time our Harvest Hosts experience has been a new kind of magic.

Harvest Hosts experience

HOW DOES HARVEST HOSTS WORK?

What kind of crazy world do we live in now?

a) We can pull up a digital map on our cordless cell phone (ok just pause right there. Take in the fact that your mind would have imploded by that statement 15 years ago).

b) We can access the internet on said phone (remember when we could only use the internet in our house while seated at a desk?).

c) Next we choose a location where we want to travel to (in our mobile house on wheels–again, mind blown).

d) We find a Harvest Hosts in that area and contact them to check for availability: Continue reading “our Harvest Hosts experience | Nationwide”

sailboat racing | Lake Ontario

It’s warm with a tempting breeze—the kind that beckons you toward refreshing water. Once again, it’s race time for the local sailors on Lake Ontario and they are in need of crew. Now in our 24th day of ongoing engine repair, Trent and I just happen to be available.

SILENT SENTINELS

The sun is dipping low on the horizon as we make our way on to the dock. The water laps softly beneath our feet as we tread past row after row of occupied boatslips. The surrounding schooners stand like silent sentinels, masts reaching skyward. It’s easy to feel insecure in this unfamiliar space. Yet I know that all that stands between the known and the unknown is the experience that lies before me.

sailboats lake ontario

BLUE LIQUID

A crew of six welcomes us aboard the Wind Thief. I’m given a brief tour before we shove off and make our way into the harbor. Once we near the starting point of our race, the motor is retired and the sails are hoisted heavenward. Like bees in a flower garden, the sailboats on the lake permeate the horizon, filling it with vertical sheets of white against a backdrop of blue liquid. Continue reading “sailboat racing | Lake Ontario”

be the change | Albion Falls, Ontario

I pack lunches and we pile into the van. In a city with 100 waterfalls, it’s high time we visit another. Setting the GPS to Albion Falls, we leave the campground and head southeast. We pass the travel time by listening to Mr. Poppers Penguins.

DISSAPOINTING DESCENT

Twenty minutes later we arrive, exit the van and begin our hike to the falls. The sign near the trailhead warns of poison ivy. Ironically, we feel well prepared to identify and avoid the dangerous flora, thanks to our time in Connecticut. Making our way cautiously down the embankment, we meet the down-flow from the falls and begin to track it to its head.

Characteristically, we hear the falls before seeing it. As we approach, stepping gingerly from one dry rock to another, it becomes immediately obvious that we are not the first ones to traverse this trail. The breathtaking chiaroscuro* filtering through the trees and refracting off the water does nothing to detract from the garbage lying about. Try as I might, I cannot not see the trash. It’s everywhere. Plastic water bottles are piled up in heaps. Empty firework casings from the recent 150-celebration float in the water, helplessly trapped behind a rock. Dirty socks and Tim Horton coffee cups are peeking out from the bushes.

Undaunted, our kids seek out pools of water in which to peer and boulders and rocks begging to be stood upon. In my efforts to take a photo sans garbage, I succeed. Yet I know when I look at the picture in the future, my brain will auto-insert the trash that was so carefully omitted. Continue reading “be the change | Albion Falls, Ontario”