Monday, December 28, 2015

Merry Christmas!

We had a great Christmas with the Vawter family at our house.  Zac's parents, sister, brother-in-law and our baby nephew arrived on the 23rd and got to stay through the weekend.  Lot's of food and fun!  Here's some pictures:
We went rock climbing on Christmas Eve!  Here's Keanan.  He has gotten really good since joining team.
Kyla scaling the wall - she went right to the top!
One legged climbing man!
Santa showed up!  (Zac's parents)
Vawter grandkids with "Santa"
Beautiful candle light Christmas Eve service at our church
We took a drive out to the beach the day after Christmas
Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year later this week!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Weekend Adventures: Angels Aware!


This weekend was the kids Christmas play at church, Angels Aware!  It was the Christmas story from the angels point of view starting with Michael announcing to the other angels, and delegation of the major and minor prophets (Moses and Isaiah), that God had decided to go to earth.  It was a wonderful telling of the entire story of the Bible, showing God's amazing love for man.

Keanan had a major speaking role as Isaiah.  He practiced really hard and did such a great job!  Kyla was a part of the angel choir, and had a special part in one of the groups singing into the microphone.  She also did a wonderful job.  They had been practicing since September every Wednesday night and have had a ton of fun doing it.  Great job Crosswalk Kids!

Here are two of my favorite songs near the end of the play, with one of Keanan's speaking parts in the middle:
Here is part of the song that Kyla had a special part in.
After church on Sunday we had fun making gingerbread cookies!
Yummy!  We shared some with our neighbors.
 On Saturday, after the kids dress rehearsal for the play, we did a "little hike" which turned into 5 miles with 1,100 feet of elevation gain!  Zac really wanted to check out an old silver mine in the hills.  The kids did great, and we all slept really good.
Resting at what we thought was the top.  It wasn't.  Great view though!
We made it to the mine!
Beautiful sunset.  We were running down the trail to get back to the car before dark!
Happy 3rd Sunday of Advent!  One small baby in the hay, brings us JOY on Christmas Day!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Weekend Adventures: O Christmas Tree!

As is our tradition, we went up to the hills to cut down our Christmas tree this weekend!  Unlike the foothills in Washington, there is no snow in the Santa Cruz "Mountains" - but we still had a great time.  The tree farm that we go to lets you drive all over the property, so Zac was super excited to put the work truck in 4 wheel drive and do a little crawling.  We took some pictures and found the perfect tree!
After getting it all set up we enjoyed our first hot chocolate of the season - a wonderful day!

Backing up a bit, our weekend actual started on Thursday night with Zac's work party.  It was a formal event complete with a live band playing all the 80's hits!  They were AMAZING!  I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) by The Proclaimers and You Shook Me All Night Long by AC/DC were our favorites!!  The later being a staple of all Saint Martin's dances ;)   We danced the night away and enjoyed playing all the 80's arcade games they brought in.  Turns out I have mad skee ball skills!

On Friday the kids and I went to the Nutcracker Ballet.  It was a beautiful show put on by Los Gatos Ballet, with guest dancers from San Francisco Ballet Company.  Also, our neighborhood had a Christmas parade on Saturday morning complete with the high school marching band and Santa on a fire truck!  Great way to kick off the season!

Next weekend: Angels Aware!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanksgiving!

We've had a wonderful holiday with family and friends in Washington!

We spent Thanksgiving and a few days with the Vawter side at a house right on the beach at the ocean.  Poor Zane had a cold, but other than that we had a great time.
Beautiful sunset at the beach
Going for a walk
staring into the sun!
The "cabin" we stayed in was the second from the right
Another beautiful sunset with Grandpa
Saturday and Sunday was spent with the Lathrop side in Graham.  Poor Brian was recovering from a hospital visit, but other that that we had a great time!  We also got to see lots of friends in Yelm at church on Sunday.

Some exciting news: we have another niece or nephew on the way!  My brother, Mathew, and Elizabeth are expecting number 3 in June!!  Keanan is hoping for a boy!
Lathrop cousins!  Keanan is horribly out-numbered! 
Zac went back home Sunday night while the kids and I fly back tomorrow.  We are spending our last two days visiting with friends in Yelm and hanging out with Grandma and Grandpa.

Happy December!  One small baby in the hay, brings us PEACE on Christmas day!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

End of Our Europe Trip

We were sitting in the Toronto Airport as I wrote most of this, waiting for our flight to Seattle to finish up our European journey.  On Monday Zac had a work meeting most of the day so I stayed at the hotel and did a bunch of reading and relaxing.  On Tuesday we left Zlin to head to our castle hotel - Zamek Zbiroh, that was near Prauge.  It was AMAZING!  Here's some pictures, some of them from a private tour that we had.  The castle has an incredible history!
Our little white rental car parked under Aslan in the castle parking lot
In our awesome room!  Complete with champagne :)
one of the meeting rooms in the castle
We were not supposed to take pictures on the castle tour - but Zac snuck some!  This is an actual sword from the Knight's Templar!  They have a connection to this castle.
I can't remember which King this is, but he owned the castle at some point and this was his folding travel chair!
view of the castle grounds from the second floor during our tour
The grand hall, with glass ceiling.  Many events, balls, and weddings held here.  Beautiful painting and lights.
The longest hall in the castle, complete with different time period knights!
Part of the old castle behind me.
In the courtyard of the main part of the castle.  
This tower is in the courtyard of the old part of the castle and is the oldest freestanding tower in the Czech Republic.
Zac looking tough with his Czech beer at the castle restaurant

We woke up to a dusting of snow on the ground as we drove to Prauge to catch our plane back to Washington to meet up with the kids and all our family for Thanksgiving.

Some insights about the Czech Republic:
- the speed limit is optional, very optional.
- the roads in the towns are SUPER narrow, frequently one car only.
- the Czech country side is very beautiful, but the cities are not so much
- they love potatoes - they make everything out of potatoes
- things are so old!  In a good way - the castle we stayed in was built in the 1200's!!!
- public places are much cleaner than in the US
- American's are kind of arrogant.  We don't bother to learn the language, but expect them to know English.  And when they come to the US we also expect them to know English.  We felt bad about this when we were there.

What a perfect trip!  We are tired, but happy and enjoying being with the kids again.  So thankful for the amazing blessings that God has showered on us.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Weekend Adventures: From Europe!

Ahoj! (That's "hello" in Czech!)  As I write this Zac and I have just enjoyed a lovely dinner at our hotel in Zlin in the Czech Republic!  On Friday morning we left San Jose and arrived in Seattle to pass the kids through security to my mom.  They are having a wonderful weekend with cousins.  Zac and I continued on the Frankfurt, Germany.  We had a long layover there so we went into the old part of the town for some sightseeing and food.  Here's some pictures:
our airplane
in Frankfurt!
we climbed a gazillion stairs to the top of....
this!  The oldest and tallest church in Frankfurt.

We flew from Frankfurt to Prague, Czech Republic and arrived at our hotel very tired on Saturday night.  This morning after breakfast we walked across the cobblestone courtyard to see the famous Strahov Monastery library here:
Then we started driving toward Zlin, with a stop at a castle on the way!
Unfortunately, we couldn't go in.  But we walked all the way around,  and as a bonus it started snowing!  Zac says they were cleaning the tapestries ;) 
Like in a fairytale!
Did you know there are over 2000 castles and castle ruins in the Czech Republic?!   Zac has a work meeting tomorrow and then Tuesday night we are staying in a real castle!!  Many more pictures to come!  Sbohem!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Weekend Adventures: Staying Home (or: the calm before the craziness!)

We had a super chill time at home this past weekend.  There was lots of playing and sorting of Legos, ballet for Kyla, church, and all around laziness - it was lovely!

In addition to school this week we did some annual Thanksgiving craftiness:
Turkey hands!  They keep getting bigger (Keanan on top, Kyla on bottom)
Our Thankful leaves made into a garland
"Being cats" at a park on Friday
All the calm of the weekend was very intentional - on Friday morning we embark on an adventure!  It starts by flying from San Jose to Seattle.  In Seattle my mom will be meeting Keanan and Kyla at the airport while Zac and I continue on to Frankfurt, Germany and then ultimately Prauge, Czech Republic for a few days until we fly back to Seattle the night before Thanksgiving!  Zac has some business for work for a few hours on Monday in Zlin in the Czech Republic, so of course I am going along.  :)  We are super excited to be in Europe for the first time together and see some amazing sites.  The kids are beyond excited to stay with Grandma, Grandpa and their cousins while we are gone.  Please pray for safe travels for us!

Next week: from the Czech Republic!!