Innocent Recreation

I am rereading the book Adventist Home and found this quote to be great counsel: “While we restrain our children from worldly pleasures that have a tendency to corrupt and mislead, we ought to provide them innocent recreation, to lead them in pleasant paths where there is no danger. No child of God need have a sad or mournful experience. Divine commands, divine promises, show that this is so. Wisdom’s ways ‘are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.’” Adventist Home, 498

I was very happy when my husband announced the other day that we were all going to take the kayak out. I could see the sparkle in my children’s eyes and I knew that we were going to have a nice day that would provide “innocent recreation” for my children and hopefully be another nail in the coffin for worldly pleasures.

Trying Out the Kayak

First Day of Year Out With Kayak

It was definitely an enjoyable day!

Big Bend Pt. 3 – The Family

Pictures. Pictures. And more pictures. Pictures of the people rather than just the scenery. From oldest to youngest.

Grandparents in Big Bend

Grandparents in Big Bend

Quite a View in Big Bend


Zippy (age 11) in Big Bend

Budding Phtographer

JD Boy (age 9) in Big Bend

G'tums (age 6) in Big Bend

Rock Climbing (Gtums age 6)

King on the Mountain (Gtums age 6)

A Big Boy in Big Bend

Camping Baby (age 20 months or so)

Our tents

The last picture is just because I wanted to record for posterity that Nana and Papa went camping with us and actually slept in one of those tents! They had quite a thrill and promised us that this was the last time that they would do that. They had some creature, what it was nobody knows, come scratching at their tent in the middle of the night. Different possible guesses that were made were: humanoids, bear, javelina, skunks, you name it. Whatever the case, neither of them appreciated the visit one bit and are now in the market for an RV, just in case you have one to give away. Thanks Nana and Papa for all that you went through to make a fun vacation for us!

Big Bend Pt. 2 – The Stars

My husband did some experimenting with photography while we were in Big Bend and got some interesting captures one night of the stars. I just think these are such neat photos, I decided they were worthy of a whole post.

First is a picture at dusk from behind our tent.

Stars at Big Bend

Next is a picture when it was completely dark from behind our tent.

Stars at Big Bend

Then a thirty minute or so exposure. Isn’t it interesting how far the stars travel in such a short period of time, I mean how much the earth rotates? Even leaving the shutter open for 5 minutes showed movement in the stars.

Stars at Big Bend

Then the grand finale picture. This picture comes with a story. My husband set the camera up right outside our tent for all of these photos. This one he started just as we crawled into our sleeping bags. I was quite concerned about his leaving his camera outside. I mean, what if a javelina came and bumped it over, or what if the neighbors snuck over and took it as loot. Needless to say, I slept light, ever so often I would open my eyes and see the little LED on the back of the camera and know it was there and go back to sleep. Well, sometime in the middle I opened my eyes and there was no LED. My fears had come true, or so I thought. I sat up and woke up Nathan and whispered with more than a little urgency, “Something has happened to your camera.” He sleepily stuck his head out the tent and shut the shutter. The battery had died. He as able to just get the shutter closed and the camera was dead. We couldn’t look at his picture until he recharged his battery. All in all, stress included, it was worth it – it made for a very neat picture. My husband wants to go back to Big Bend just so he can practice more night photography. Stars in the Pacific Northwest avoid us too much to be able to take pictures like this.

Stars at Big Bend
So there you have our star photography and our star photography experience too.

There is a reason why there was a such a delay between this post and the last: I have something I really want to share from Big Bend, but it’s lost, so how can I ever take a picture of it. It is my son’s nature journal. He did some really nice entries. But I’ll have to just share that whenever it appears. I’ll go ahead and share the rest of the photos we got though over the next couple or so posts. I’m rather distraught over losing it though. He’s been adding things to it for three years and it shows some beautiful growth in artistic ability.

Big Bend, Pt. 1

We made a speedy trip to Big Bend National Park a few weeks back. This was another national park that I had wanted to visit for a very long time. We have a few friends who love this park, so I was very curious. It is indeed an amazing park. It is so, so, so big and so, so dry. I enjoyed the visit to the opposite type of place from where I live.

We took so many pictures, that I will have to split the post up into a few parts, so that I can share all of my favorite ones!

The first night that we were there, we stayed in campground called Cottonwood Campground. It was quite a nice spot for birding. It was very close to the Rio Grande River, plus there was a stream or spring or some water source that kept the campground green and it has quite a few trees. Here are a couple of shots of the Vermillion Flycatcher that lived in the campground.

Vermillion Flycatcher

Vermillion Flycatcher

In that campground, we also saw Cardinals, Pyrrhuloxia, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, and some other more common birds.

One of the fun things we did that evening was to drive down to the Rio Grande. I was a little disappointed. It was my first time to see the river with such a big name. To me, it seemed like just a little more than a stream. But we had fun throwing rocks across the river and knowing that we were throwing rocks into a different country–Mexico.

Then we drove up the road and climbed around on hills made of volcanic ash, while my husband had fun playing with his camera. Here are a bunch of pictures that he took from this spot.

The above picture is of an Ocotillo bush. Someday, maybe I will get to see one with flowers on it. We saw hints of buds on a few of the Octotillos. The picture below is one that my husband and father-in-law spent a lot of time working on. It is of my father-in-law’s van driving down the curvy road at dusk, while my husband had a very long exposure on his camera. You never knew that a van could give you the race-car impression before, did you?

Car Lights in Big Bend

After we returned to our tents from this excursion, we were greeted by Javelinas. We were all excited to meet Javelinas, as long as they didn’t mess with any of our stuff. Well, one of them chewed the zippers off of one of our large duffels. Oh, well. This was a new animal for all of us. It was dark when we met them, so we don’t have any pictures to prove our story, but a few of my kids added pictures of Javelinas to their Junior Ranger Booklets. Here is one of Zippy’s drawings of the Javelina. It is the pig-like animal on the left.

Javelina and Road Runner Drawing in Big Bend Junior Ranger Booklet

Carlsbad Caverns

I have long wanted to visit Carlsbad Caverns and see the bats. Well, I got half my wish–I finally had the opportunity to see the cave but there weren’t any bats.

We went on the self-guided tour through the Big Room. It was absolutely stunning. I was so glad to finally see it for myself, and that my family was getting the opportunity to see it too.

Now you can take a photo tour of the cave with us, thanks to my husband and his camera.








Family in Carlsbad

Which one is your favorite? Now don’t you want to go there too? It really is one of the amazing natural wonders of this country.

The three big kids also earned their Junior Ranger Badges. So we were able to count this as a good solid school day! Here are three proud Junior Rangers with their books, certificates and badges.

Carlsbad Junior Rangers

Garden Start

Well, with snow hanging around all the way into Spring, gardening is presenting it’s challenges. Here is a view of our garden boxes in the snow.


In spite of the snow, thanks to the tender loving care that my brother has been giving to our garden, we have been continuing to bring in greens about once a week from the garden. It’s pretty special to be eating garden greens when snow is all over the ground.

We also are getting our tomatoes off to a start in the dining room.

Garden starts

Garden starts

You should see how often the boys in this home check on these plants. I have been enjoying watching the plants too, but watching how much the boys love the plants is even more rewarding.

Spring or Not?

This is what it looked like at our house on the first day of Spring. It was a little hard to take.


Eating Snow

I Won!

These pictures were taken a few days earlier, but the snow hung around and kept returning until March 21. We hope that the real Spring has arrived.

Anxious for Garden Produce

We’ve been shopping through the gardening catalogues for a few weeks. We even received a package a couple of days ago that just rattled like a baby rattle–it was full of seeds.

Actually we have a few greens in our garden that survived the winter, sort of, but I just can’t wait for juicy tomatoes. Not that we’ve been very successful at growing delicious tomatoes, but we keep trying and I keep hoping.

I happened across these pictures on my husband’s computer that he took of our garden last year and it made me all the more anxious to start eating garden food. I guess gardening is to help us learn patience!

garden 1

garden 2

garden 3


For now, we are planning on planting in pots and trying to set up a grow light. We’ll see how it goes.

A Snow Day

So we are slated to get more snow than we have since I’ve lived in this area. Some years we get snow some years don’t. That said, I thought snow days were in order. Don’t you?

The kids have been sledding until the wore the snow off their hill. That will be okay because more snow is in the forecast.

The sledding hill

And they made snowballs and snowmen and had snowball fights.

Making Snowballs

And they let the baby have a try at all the fun snow adventures too.

Baby tries playing in the snow

And because I’m a real homeschool mom, we started a unit study on snow. We are reading the book The Gospel According to a Snowflake. It’s really a superb book. Hopefully we’ll report back when we’ve learned a lot from the book.

The Gospel According to a Snowflake cover