Monday, August 31, 2015

Back to [Home]School!

Today was our first day back to school for the 2015/2016 school year!  Here are my amazing students:
To celebrate our first day the kids woke up to find new reading books and cool new pencils at their spot on the table.  For a special lunch treat we rode our bikes about 1.5 miles to a corner cafe and had super yummy sandwiches and giant cookies!

I'm very excited for this coming school year and all the learning and growing that will take place.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Home again, home again!

The kids and I arrived safely home on Friday night - thank you for all the traveling prayers.  We were excited to get home to Zac, but sad to leave family and friends in WA (and OR!).  We've had a restful weekend with church, church picnic, family movie (we saw Inside Out - very cute!), and a Young Lives training day for me on Saturday.  This week is full of deep cleaning and getting everything ready to start school next week!  
Last night with the Lathrop cousins (Grandma and Grandpa too!)
On the way home!
This guy was indifferent about our arrival.  Thomas the leopard gecko and his brother Linko (who is hiding under the rock) live in Keanan's room.
Shark and Rainbow Fish were happy to see us!  The beta's are Kyla's responsibility.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Washington Adventures: Family, Friends, and a glowing Fun Run!

Spinning wool with Nana
Grinding our coffee
Picking blackberries by the Mossyrock dam
Vawter Cousins!
After leaving Mossyrock we spent the afternoon and night with our friends in Yelm.  The kids were having so much fun, and I had to take Zac to the airport to get back to work, so I have no pictures!  We are now with my side of the family in Graham having lots of fun with cousins.
slip n slide with Lucy and Kate
Great Grandma in Arkansas made these hats for the girls
I have been running consistently since Mother's Day so my sister decided to sign us up to run a 5K!  It was a night run with glow sticks put on by Run 4 US - raising money for ultrasounds for the CareNet pregnancy centers!  Perfect! I had not run a 5K since high school, but all my training paid off and it felt great!
Before...
After!  I did it in 34 min and Ann in 36.  Lots of fun!!
On Sunday we had church in Graham and then drove back to Yelm for an afternoon with Jess, Casey, Zane, Nana and Grandpa.  The kids, Casey and Grandpa went for a hike down to the river and had lots of fun - despite a few bee stings.  We had a great dinner and said our goodbyes.  On the way back to Graham we swung by the Ireland's and I took this picture from their porch.  I have missed my mountain!
We are in Graham at my parents house for the rest of the trip - headed home on Thursday :)

Monday, August 10, 2015

Weekend Adventures: A Lake, A Picture, A Baby & A Memorial

We're in Washington!  It's been a fun trip with lots, and lots, and lots of driving.  We started Friday afternoon and made it to Weed, CA for the night.  Saturday we started out for Oregon with a stop at Crater Lake for lunch and a few hikes, beautiful!
Beautiful Oregon
We went to the top on one of our hikes!

fun in the car
Saturday evening we ended in Eugene to stay the night with our awesome friends, the Bothman's.  Sunday morning we headed to Washington and ended at my parents lake house a little after lunch.  It was so great to see everyone and the kids had a blast playing in the mud of the river.  We even got a family picture taken.
The Lathrop Family 2015!
Very early Monday morning we drove again for Portland to attend Zac's Buppa's (Grandpa) funeral.  It was a very sweet service for a very sweet, Jesus loving man.  One highlight of the service was that we finally got to meet our nephew Zane!!  I only give him back when we cries or needs to eat ;)
Flower's from Buppa's service
Burying some of Buppa's ashes with some of Nana's underneath their rose bush
I'm so happy!!
Now we are in Mossyrock for a few days visiting Zac's family.  More adventures and pictures to come next weekend! 
Not giving him up!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Maker Camp with Friends! Flight Week

Monday and Wednesday were our last days of Maker Camp with our group of friends.  This has been such a fun 3 weeks and really the perfect mix of learning and fun for summer.

This weeks theme was Flight!  On Monday we made lots of paper airplanes and tested them at the park:
On Friday we made Makey kites!  They worked surprisingly well and the kids had fun running around testing them at the park.
Our Campers!
We will definitely be doing Maker Camp again next summer!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Weekend Adventures: Camping in the Los Padres National Forest!

We had such a great camping trip this weekend with our friends the Hoffman's!  We went about 3 hours south to Los Padres National Forest and camped in the Memorial campground.  We purposely picked this area because it was a primitive camping area - no running water, no power, first come first served.  We really didn't want to be right next to a bunch of people and pay a bunch of money at the state parks.  It was so nice!  There were very few other people at the campground and on Saturday we were the only people at the nearby swimming hole.  The swimming hole itself was awesome!  Perfect for the kids and it had a rope swing and big rocks for jumping for the big kids.  We spent much time there.
Here's a panorama of our camp site
My words to Zac, "Take my picture - I'm camping!"

We were making some observations about camping in CA as opposed to WA.
Pros to camping in CA: it's dry - we slept in the tent without the rain fly and could look at the stars from our sleeping bags!  The terrain is beautiful with tons of amazing rock formations.  Most of the city people go to the developed campsites which leaves the primitive ones open.
Cons: ticks - I suppose this is true anywhere, but it's a big issue here (we were all tick free).  Poison oak - if you stay on the trails you are fine. Rattlesnakes - they are found in all parts of CA.  Our friend Gabe spotted a big snake at the swimming hole on Sunday.  Someone else that was there had an ax and chopped off it's head (since there were kids and dogs all around that area).  It was pretty crazy to see one in the wild and hear it rattle!
Yup - Keanan's holding a (dead) rattlesnake

It seems that Keanan and Kyla have reached the age where camping is now fun instead of a lot of work.  We could have gone many more days.  It also seems that Keanan has transitioned from little kid to big kid.  He was very independent and adventurous on this trip, in a good way.  I was impressed at how he went off the rope swing at the swimming hole and jumped off some of the big rocks into the water without much thought.  They are growing.  *sigh*

This is our last week of Maker Camp with friends, and on Friday we start our road trip to Washington!