Posts Tagged With: family time

Home for the Holidays

Home.  Where exactly do we call “home” when for the past year home has been where we parked it?  Going home consisted of a few different places this year.  First, we went home to Fernandina Beach, Florida where we lived before we started traveling.  Going home to Florida was a strange feeling.  Wandering around our old hometown and driving through our old neighborhood was really weird.  Everything still looked pretty much the same, but felt so completely different.  We visited with our old neighbors and it was strange to look across the street at our old house and realize I can’t just walk over there and go inside like I could have last year.  It really was wonderful though to see some old friends.  I really enjoyed catching up with one of my closest friends Kim over Mexican dip and wine.  I really miss this girl!


We camped at Ft. Clinch State Park.  Another blog post about that park later, but it was a real treat to stay there.  I had tried several times to get a reservation there for weekend camping trips back when we lived just 10 minutes away.  I used to ride my bike there and loved the campground, but it was always booked.  It’s one of those state parks that you must book several months in advance to get in.

This is the beach just beside the campground loop we stayed in.


While we were there we visited Santa’s house because everyone knows that Santa Claus really lives in Fernandina Beach, Florida, not at the North Pole.  We used to visit Santa several times every December when we lived nearby.  I have pictures of the boys with him every year since they were babies.  Santa’s house always looks so beautiful!



Going “home” for us also included a trip to Disney World.  When we lived in Florida we usually had Disney annual passes and would go there several times a year.  My favorite campground has always been Disney’s Ft. Wilderness, and even after all of the campgrounds we have stayed at this year, guess what?  Ft. Wilderness is still my favorite!  Visiting in December is my favorite time to visit because several of the campsites are decorated for Christmas and it’s really fun to ride the golf cart around at night and look at all the beautiful sites.  This was one of the best.  They had a lighted walkway to allow visitors to walk around their site.



The weather was beautiful that week and warm enough for the pool, and not the least bit crowded as you can see by the empty chairs in the background.  I remember coming here when every single chair was taken and the pool was wall-to-wall people.  It’s kind of nice to come when it’s not too busy.  This was obviously in early December before the massive crowds that I heard were there this past week.




Another great thing about visiting Disney in December is the amazing display of Christmas lights at Hollywood Studios.  I absolutely love seeing these lights that dance to Christmas music.  Sadly, this is the last year they will have this display.




After Disney we visited my sister and brother-in-law at their new place in Georgia.  While we were there we went to another really nice Christmas lights display.  We love to take goofy pictures!





And finally, coming “home” also meant home to Charlotte, NC where Chris & I lived before moving to Florida over 15 years ago.  We enjoyed a wonderful family Christmas at my parent’s house.


We had a chance to see Chris’s sister and family that we have not seen in a few years so that was very nice!




It was also a nice treat to visit with old high school and college friends during our visits to GA and NC.  Unfortunately I don’t have pictures of all the people we visited, but here are a couple.



And of course I can’t forget to mention that Fat Cat enjoyed the holidays as well.  She even got wrapped up in paper like a present and she liked hiding under the Christmas tree.   🙂



It was so nice to spend time with so many friends and family over the holidays.  To me, that is what coming home means.  Being at home means being with family.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas season and have a blessed 2016!

Categories: Florida, Fulltime RV'ing, North Carolina | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Random Thoughts about Life on the Road

We just spent a week in Kansas and since there really isn’t a whole lot to do in Kansas, I had some time to reflect back on the time we have spent on the road.

It has been a little over 7 months since we moved into the RV and started traveling.  It has been quite an amazing experience so far and I am so grateful that we have been able to do this.  It’s not all perfectly exciting days like my blog and Facebook might look.  It’s real life, and sometimes real life has inconveniences and problems like blown tires, things in the RV needing to be fixed, grumpy kids, grumpy mom and dad, etc.  Some days are just regular days that involve working, doing school, laundry and cleaning.  Some days are long driving days.  We’re not really on a permanent vacation, although sometimes it feels like it and I have to remind myself that I have work to do and it’s not time to play.  Here is a picture of the kids doing their morning Bible study before we start our school day.  Yes, we really do school on the road.  🙂


And a couple of random Fat Cat pictures.  She has really adjusted well to life on the road.  She has become an outdoor cat.  She is always meowing to go outside so she can explore the new sights and sounds, and see what kind of trouble she can get herself into.  🙂



One of the things I love best about this life is the constantly changing scenery, seeing new places that I would otherwise never have seen.  I have a serious case of wanderlust, but I’m also an introverted homebody.  That probably sounds a little contradictory, but taking my home everywhere we go helps to bridge that gap.  It means I am always at home, yet able to travel and see the country like I really want to do.  I can always retreat into my cozy little tiny home when I need some downtime, or go for a nature walk, or just sit outside by the campfire.  I also love that I don’t have to pack and unpack to go on a trip.  I don’t have to worry about forgetting something I might need since everything we own is always with us on the road.

And that brings up another point, less really is more.  I realized I don’t need as much as I thought I did.  Downsizing from our house to an RV was hard and it was hard deciding what to keep and what to get rid of.  Since we’ve been living in the RV I realized I don’t even need all the stuff I took with us and I’m still getting rid of more stuff as we go.  We haven’t been in many houses since we hit the road, but the couple of times we have visited someone in a “sticks and bricks”, I am amazed at how much space they have.  It’s amazing how quickly I have become accustomed to living in a small space.  By the way, “sticks and bricks” is what full-time RV’ers call the homes we used to live in.

I’ve realized that having the whole country for our backyard is better than having a big house.  I know it’s not for everyone, and I’m sure many people would never want to live this way, but for us it’s working.

Being an introvert though, I have really had to get out of my comfort zone.  I have met many new people on the road, RV parks are great for getting to know your neighbors.  Some RV parks have spots that are so close together you can’t help but get to know your neighbors really well!  For the most part I have really enjoyed getting to know so many new people.  Strangers aren’t really as scary as I thought they were.  Most people are really nice, normal people and I have enjoyed getting to know them.  We have met people from all walks of life — from other families traveling like we are to older couples that are retired and living their dreams.  Everybody we meet has their own unique stories to tell, and I’m enjoying having the time to slow down and listen and get to know people.

One thing I have learned since we started traveling is that we need to slow down.  We have been traveling at a pretty fast pace this year, moving every week or two which doesn’t leave us a lot of time to fully explore an area.  Next year I’m hoping to slow down our travels a little and have more time at some locations.  I have also learned that living on the road is a lot more expensive that I expected it to be.  It’s still cheaper than living in our sticks and bricks with a mortgage payment and all, but campgrounds are not cheap.  I’m trying to learn from some other Fulltime Families how to find cheaper campgrounds and state parks.  We haven’t been brave enough to try it yet, but some families do a lot of boondocking which means they camp at free or cheap public lands.  They don’t have any electric or water hookups so they need to be self-sufficient, but some of the locations they find are truly breathtaking.

One of the hardest and most time-consuming things has been trip planning.  I had no idea how hard that would be!  It takes me hours to figure out where we’re going, where we’re going to stay and what we’ll do when we get there.  Maybe if we didn’t move so often I wouldn’t have to spend quite so much time doing this.

A real benefit of this life is spending so much more quality time together as a family.  Back in the sticks and bricks we used to spend most weekends cleaning the house and doing yard work.  With no yard work and a much smaller house to clean, weekends have become a lot more fun.  We are usually out hiking and exploring a beautiful national park on the weekends now.  I love that we are getting out and seeing amazing places, rather than just reading about them in a book.  We are experiencing life now while we have it.  There are no guarantees in life and we are not even guaranteed tomorrow.  So, I would like to encourage you.  What is it that you want to do?  You may not have a dream to travel and see the world, but what is it you want to do?  Get out and do it!  Don’t wait, do it now while you can.


Categories: Fulltime RV'ing | Tags: , , , , | 11 Comments

Family Time in California


My sister Cheryl and her husband Chris have been living in Burbank, CA and we had plans to spend some time with them while we’re out on the west coast.  A few months ago they made the decision to move back east to Georgia so we knew we needed to get out here before they moved.  We spent some time at Wilderness Lakes Thousand Trails in Menifee, CA which wasn’t too far from Cheryl and Chris so they were able to come out and visit us there for a few days.  Wilderness Lakes was lots of fun and we met 3 other Fulltime Families staying there.  It’s a very kid-friendly park with train rides, candy bar bingo and Jesse’s favorite — mini golf.




After that we moved to another RV resort in Acton, CA which was a little closer to Burbank.  Fat Cat really liked this campsite where she learned to climb trees.  Chris had to rescue her once she got up there and didn’t know what to do.



My parents flew out from NC to visit for a couple of weeks while we were there.  The timing worked out that they were here at the same time that Chris & Cheryl were moving out of their apartment in Burbank so we were all available to help them move.  That was an interesting fiasco, but I won’t bore you with those details.  🙂  Besides helping them move we all did some sightseeing together.

The Los Angeles Zoo…



Travel Town Train Museum…



We caught a glimpse of the famous Hollywood sign…


Visited downtown Burbank…


And had make-your-own-pizza night at Chris & Cheryl’s place…


The last time I visited Cheryl in CA was 12 years ago and one of my favorite things we did back then was visiting Santa Monica and rollerblading on the bike path along the beach.  This time Santa Monica was not nearly as fun as it was 12 years ago.  It was so much more crowded than I remember and some of the people just seem really rude.  We locked up our bikes and sat on the beach for a while and walked out on the pier.  Then we were ready to go for a bike ride but when we got back to our bikes we found one of the locks had been cut and Chris’s bike had been stolen.  We just bought this bike a couple of months ago in Texas and it was a really nice bike so it was very disappointing to find it had been stolen.  So we never did end up going for a bike ride that day.  We tried to make the best of it and enjoy our day there, but after that happened it really wasn’t that much fun.  On a positive note I found out later that our credit card that we used to purchase the bike has purchase protection against theft and damage.  I filed a claim and it turns out we might be able to get the money back that we spent for the bike.  I sure hope so!




Riding the ferris wheel was really cool!


After helping Chris and Cheryl move, we all went back to spend some relaxing days at the campground.  It was a very refreshing change from the busyness and un-friendliness of L.A.  Now that my sister doesn’t live there anymore, I’m not sure we’ll ever go back there again.  I’m definitely not a city girl — I much prefer the wide open spaces and friendliness of some of the other states we have been to.



Such beautiful mountain views…




Playing Mexican Train Dominoes one night by the pool.  Our family loves game nights!


One evening we saw this spectacular rainbow and sunset at the campground…



And another night a beautiful full moon…


Time with family is time well spent.  We were so blessed to have this time together.  I wish they all lived in RVs so we could travel together more often.

Categories: California | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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