Friday, August 19, 2016

Back to school!

It's back to school time! The last weekend of summer we went camping to Jellystone Park and had a fantastic time! The kids were in the water all day Friday and most of the day Saturday (until it rained). The park had a beautiful lake and two swimming pools. Matthew did an amazing job swimming. He was jumping in the deep end at the pool and even jumped into the 20' lake (with a life jacket on!). I can't believe how great of a swimmer he has become. The girls are good swimmers too and they all had a blast. 
Jellystone Lake

Yogi Bear
Erik took the kids canoeing on the lake Friday evening. The weather was so beautiful and the kids loved canoeing with Daddy!
Craft time

The kids and Erik are standing on the platform ready to jump in
The park was huge and you really needed bikes or a golf cart to get around otherwise you were walking a lot. We didn't bring bikes therefore we were walking a lot. At least I got my steps in! I was able to finish Sea Spell, the fourth book in the Waterfire Series by Jennifer Donnelly. It is a series Jenna read too (something for 11 and 41 year olds). When it rained we sat inside and played the bean game. We even made smores in our toaster oven!  I also finished Legend, the book from our book club. It was so disappointing. I wish I could unread it :(.
Playing Through the Desert
On Wednesday the kids went back to school!  The night before Matthew prayed that it would always be summer and never winter, he would never have to go to school, and Panda would come back. Such a sweet prayer for a 6 year old.

Jenna is now going to middle school. She is riding a bus, has a locker, and is changing classes. It was a little overwhelming to her at first but I think she is doing well. Sarah has a fantastic teacher who is a strong Christian and one of my friends. I'm so glad Sarah is in her class. Matthew started kindergarten as well. He will go to school Tuesday/Friday every other Wednesday. He was nervous to start but I think he really liked it.

Sarah and Matthew

Matthew with Mrs. Menary

Sarah with Mrs. Gunn

Matthew and his new quilt made by Aunt Shelby!
It's going to be a great school year! The kids are ready to be back and I'm ready for them to be back too!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Goodbye Panda

Last Friday we lost Panda. He had been a member of our family for four years. Prior to that he was Erik's parents' cat so we have known him for awhile. We weren't exactly sure of Panda's age but we are thinking he was about 19 years old. The past 6 months he has really gone downhill. We watched a video of Panda from a year ago and he seemed like a different cat. 
Panda and Twinkles sharing a meal

The kids and cats

Shaved Panda
A week ago Panda was walking and then he just fell. That seemed odd to us but he had been having trouble walking for the past several months. On Friday Sarah said that Panda was stuck in the litterbox. I went to the litterbox and he seemed fine - just hanging out in there.

Well a few hours later he was still there. Erik picked him up out of the litterbox and he couldn't walk. We knew it was bad. We didn't know whether to take him to the vet then or wait until morning. The fear about waiting until morning was that the kids would find him dead. So Erik took him that night to the vet. They took a look at him and said he wasn't going to make it. We were not surprised. I got to say goodbye to him though so that was good. He was a good cat for our family.

The kids are asking for a new cat but Erik wants us to be a one cat family. Twinkles doesn't like other cats anyway. She ignored Panda.

We will miss you Panda!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Our fun weekend!

Playing Ra
In summer we have been able to play more family games. I snapped a picture of us playing Ra. Sarah loves bidding on anything related to destruction. I'm not sure what that says about her!
Lately Matthew has been really interested in driveways and sidewalks that have cracks. He built this road with "cracks" in it all on our living room. He ripped up paper then taped it back together to simulate roads. 

Matthew and his roads
 Erik bought me a vegetarian cookbook for my birthday. I made peanut ginger noodles and stuffed tomatoes. Both recipes were amazing. I can't wait to make more recipes from the cookbook.
Stuffed tomatoes
 Last week Jenna went to a video game camp. She learned GameMaker and created several games. Her friend Alexis also went to the camp. They both really loved it. Now I just need to download GameMaker on one of our machines. We give the kids our old computers. I currently have 3 computers I'm using all the time (plus 3 raspberry pis - I guess that makes 6!) so I need to figure out when I can give them one of my old computers.
Jenna and Alexis
 Last weekend my parents took the kids and we had a weekend sans kids! On Saturday we went on a 13.2 mile (according to google fit!)  hike at Cesar Creek. Unfortunately we did not bring enough water. So for the last 1 1/2 miles we had no water and prior to that we were really conserving water. Once we got to our car we high tailed it to a gas station and bought a huge bottle of water and drank it within minutes! The hike was beautiful, however in one section there were so many trees covering the path we had to climb over them and it was pretty crazy!

On Sunday we rode bikes to church then went to J. Alexanders for dinner. Unfortunately Erik got pretty sick and dizzy on Sunday and couldn't eat much at dinner. I think the lack of water on Saturday was really bad for him.

Both nights we rented movies from the redbox and ate huge bowls of ice cream. Yay!                                                                                                                                                              
Erik picking berries on the hike

Where we had lunch

Us on the hike

In front of the lake

In front of the lake

part of the trail that was covered in logs

I took this picture standing on a log while Erik led the way in the trail

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Kids love nature

Hocking Hills
For Fourth of July we went to Hocking Hills with the kids to do some fun hiking. They loved it! We walked all around Old Man's Cave. The kids love climbing.

They loved climbing!

More hocking hills fun
 Then after walking all around Old Man's Cave we went to our friend's Fourth of July party. They own 300 acres of beautiful wooded land near Hocking Hills. Erik rode an  ATV in the rain and got terrible poison ivy, but he had fun! They had a bouncy house there and even though it was rainy (and the bouncy house was soaked) the kids loved it. I think they loved it because it was wet and they slipped and slid all over it. The food was fantastic too - it was a potluck and I love potlucks!!
Erik on the ATV
 For Matthew's birthday he got to wear the black belt at tae kwon do. He was very happy - I'm not sure he behaved any better though!
Matthew as a black belt
 Last weekend we went on our annual camping trip with the Masts, Mabrys and Brubakers to Lazy River. It was a great trip as usual! The kids love the river and spent several hours playing with the rocks. Kids love nature and they had a fantastic time. The pool here is also nice and warm and we had fun swimming in it. I even did a somersault in the pool (my signature move). On Saturday Jen, Joy and I went to a discount store to buy books. Mostly for Jenna because she reads constantly. We cooked over a fire and played games in the evening. I love this annual camping trip!
All the kids
 Aunt Shelby is making a quilt for Matthew. He is super excited and checks the mail every day for the quilt. I have pictures of the girls quilts on their beds made by Shelby. I can't wait to see Matthew's quilt.
Sarah's room

Jenna's room
 I love zumba and my friend Tera (who is also one of my favorite zumba instructors) is moving to Tennessee. I'll miss her so much. My Mom and Jenna have been to her classes.
Me and Tera

Monday, June 27, 2016

Horseback riding over the weekend!

This past weekend we went camping at Oak Crest Campgrounds then horse back riding at Marmon Valley farm on Saturday.  The campground had this beautiful pond where you can fish apparently without a permit. The kids enjoyed walking around the lake. However when we got home we noticed red welts all over Jenna's legs. Turns out Jenna got bit by chiggers. I thought she had chicken pox - they were everywhere! Apparently you are not supposed to roll around in the grass. 
the lake at the campground

the kids at the lake
 Marmon Valley was great! We rode horses for about an hour. Sarah rode Angel, Matthew rode Meshach, Jenna rode Eddie, I rode Rusty, and Erik rode Samuel. Matthew was nervous about riding until he realized he was riding a Matthew sized horse. We all had a great time! After horse back riding we went on a hayride and halfway through the tractor broke! We thought about walking back but just waited for a new tractor. Erik and the girls picked some blackberries by the side of the road - yum! That was an adventure! Then we went to the petting zoo and back to the campground for dinner and smores.
Horseback riding

Broken tractor

Erik on the rope bridge

Matthew playing in the barn

Matthew - he quit shortly after this

Jenna did not quit

Sarah did it too
 We had a fantastic trip but I don't think we will go back to this campground. Everything was tight. There were trees and stumps everywhere and it was hard to get around. Plus there were a lot of backroads to get there. Our Explorer really has trouble pulling the camper. But we made it out without hitting anything!
not much space between the tree and the camper

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Orange is the New Black!

We've had a fun-filled June. Matthew turned 6 yesterday - and it was a perfect day! I'm loving the ages of my kids now. They are so much fun. Obviously there are challenges but I really enjoy spending time with them. 
Kids playing in the sand
The first week of June we went camping at Alum Creek. I love camping here because of the camper beach. The kids played from 10am - 5:30pm with only a break for lunch. Erik and I set up our camp chairs and read. Erik even took a 2 hour nap! It was amazing!

They love the zoo
 This summer I haven't scheduled as many camps as I did last year. Last year I felt like I was running all over the place and it wasn't relaxing. This summer we have gone to the zoo, the park, the library, the pool all on our own time and it's been relaxing. Just the way I like it!

The second week of June we went camping in Cincinnati. We got to see our friends Randy and Julie from college. We haven't seen them in years and it was good to catch up with them. We also went to the Cincinnati Children's museum. This was SO fun! The kids loved it. There were several different museums combined but the kids liked the natural history cave part the best.
Outside the Cincinnati Museum center - our kids and Mast kids

Being silly at the museum

Matthew acting as a veterinarian

Sarah and Maddie being silly at the museum
 I signed up all three kids for a one day robot academy camp. They each won medals (everyone does!) and had a great time. The kids are so creative. Jenna made a robot that would tell you if your outfit doesn't match (it would beep for every outfit Sarah wears). Sarah and Matthew worked together on a straw that would prevent brain freeze because it would spin. What great inventions!


 Matthew's 6th birthday was yesterday. To celebrate we went to Adventure park and played with his friends: Nicholas and Brendan, Camden, Austin, Addie and Tyson. Then we went to McDonalds - his favorite restaurant for lunch. After that we went swimming at the Delaware Y. His favorite pool! After that we had all his favorite foods for dinner. He loves the color orange so we had oranges, orange peppers, cheese quesadillas, and corn on the cob. For dessert we had orange jello and an orange cake with orange buttercream. After that he opened presents. He loved his presents although Sarah took over some of his presents, ie the legos!
Matthew's birthday celebration with my family at Bob Evans in Mansfield
 Erik loves riding bikes so for Fathers day we had the idea of riding bikes to Old Bag of Nails pub. Halfway there Erik got a flat tire so Jenna and I had to turn back and bring the car to pick up everyone else. We still went to Old Bag of Nails and got fried pickles. Yum!
Fathers day
 Even though it was 91°F yesterday for his birthday he still wanted to wear his favorite orange pants. In fact, Matthew loves his orange outfit so much and wears it so often people may think he escaped from prison!
Matthew's orange outfit on his birthday - no he is not in prison

Happy Birthday Matthew
In other news:

  1. I'm very nervous right now about my job. Most of my friends have been laid off at my company and I don't know what to do. My job is perfect right now. I have so much flexibility and freedom. It's hard to say if it's better to just ride this out or to look elsewhere. I'm just so sad for my colleagues - they are so hard working! I feel like I'm the only one left. And that's probably just because of the PhD. 
  2. This has been the summer for me reading fluff books. I'm loving it though. I finished a Hero for Wondla (the second in the Wondla series). I also finished Winter, the fourth book in the Lunar Chronicles series and the second book in the Boreal Moon trilogy by Julian May. I think I need to read something more meaty but haven't figured out what that is yet.
  3. Jenna and Sarah are taking Summer Enrichment Experience camps through our school district. Jenna is taking creative writing and Sarah is taking art. They are really enjoying the camps! It is only from 8-11am Mon-Thurs. Just enough time for me to go to the Y and bring Matthew. 
  4. I've been doing two workout classes on Thursday and Friday. I've noticed such a difference and feel like I'm in the best shape I've been in several years. Age is just a number!