Sunday, April 23, 2017

Family climbing trip - Red Rocks - Part 2

Camping with kids is really no big deal.  People tend to make it a big deal....but if you do it right, it's like sleeping at home.  Seriously.  There are a some things we do that make it work:
  1. Using tents that are easy to set-up.  We only use tents with two poles.  There is nothing worse than stressing about set-up and tear-down.  
  2. The kids that sleep well go in their own tent and the kids that don't sleep well, sleep in our tent.
  3. The adults sleep cots....the kids sleep on the ground.  After 20 years on the ground...we're too old for all that on-the-ground shenanigans.

4.  Bring stuff for your kids to do in the mornings -- Books, games, paper for's your best chance at "sleeping in." 

5.  We're kind of an ambitious go-getr type family.  We used to hammer it right from the moment people woke-up until the sun set.  These days...we take LONG mornings.  We won't get to the base of the climb or hike until 9am.  Enjoy the sights and sounds of beautiful mornings    

Camping is about RELAXING. For us it's about getting off of a time-schedule and into a different rhythm.  

One of the things we love about Red Rock National Park is the mix of great hiking and great climbing.  There is something for the whole family to get into! 

Elizabeth and Josiah are able to top-rope most 5.6's outside these days.  We are so proud. 

When we are not climbing, we find a hikes to go on.  We have two criteria for a hike:  a nice view and easy enough that our two oldest can walk it under their own power.  These days....they can hike nearly's kinda amazing.

Once we get back to camp for dinner...we try to keep everything as normal as possible for the kids.  Normal routines are the key:  prep responsibilities are still in place, clean-up responsibilities are still in place, bed-times are still in place, etc.  We've found that when we keep the routines at least semi-normal we can last longer living outdoors. 

I love watching my kids get into camping.  They've been campaign their whole lives.  They know how to do it and do it well!'s hard to believe that Elizabeth is going to be 8 at the end of the year!  She was 3 months old on her first climbing/camping trip to Lovers Leap in Tahoe, California.

These are good days! 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Family climbing trip - Red Rocks - Part 1

Since 2006 Heidi and I have been going to Red Rock National Park on climbing trips.  There is something magical about that place for us -- the sandstone towers, the desert landscape, the unforgiving climate.  We absolutely love it.  Heidi and I have always connected to "place"....and one of our places is Red Rock National Park.

After leaving Fresno at 7pm on Sunday, we made it to Las Vegas at 1am and transferred our sleeping kids into a 39 dollar hotel room.  Beds after a long drive gave us a chance to get some good sleep before traveling to the campground in the morning.  Our camp was set-up by 8am on Monday and we were eager to get on the trails and up some climbs.  We camped and climbing from Monday to Thursday...and each day was filled with pure adventure.

One of the tips we have for families climbing with kids is to check out the base of the climbs the day before you intend to climb them.  This will greatly speed you up the follow day because you will know exactly how to get there and any obstacles you will need to overcome with your little ones (steep terrain, a tricky fork in the road, etc.)

Our kids really get into's adventurous, tactile, and utilizes a bunch of skills.  If you don't climb...that's OK!  Just find a trail somewhere and walk together!  Half the fun is just being together in a natural environment.

When we find places to climb with kids we always look for places without rockfall potential, areas without cliffs, and places with short approaches.  

Our kids have grown up on the trails.  Walking a few miles in any terrain is totally possible for the oldest two (5 & 7)...but we still mostly carry the little ones.

When the terrain gets flat, we let everyone walk together. 

When you are camping with kids, the key is to KEEP IT SIMPLE.
Soups, chilli, burritos, mac&cheese, etc.  Heidi always laments about the kids not "eating healthy"....but's 4 days.  They'll live!

After the kids go to bed....Heidi and I usually just sit and watch the sky, make a fire, and talk.

We don't need much to be happy.
We basically need the "4 F's"

These are good days

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Woodworking & Baseball

Our church, Neighborhood Church renovated an old dilapidated workshop and turned it into an artisan space where kids learn job-transferable skills like woodworking.  My kids, though little, have loved spending time in the workshop building things.  They've built toys (for play) and tools (for work) and have learned how to use all the hand tools and some of the power tools safely. 

On this occasion, all work stopped and the boys just wanted to watch something while Joe worked.  I suppose that's OK. We grabbed their car seats from the car and put on a movie.  They listed to Dora the Explorer amidst the sounds of band saws, scroll saws, and miter saws.  

One of the things we appreciate about our kids is that they KNOW how to work.   Whether they are in the workshop or on the baseball field...they KNOW how to start a job and finish do it with passion and intensity.  It doesn't matter if its work or play...we have taught them how to put the same intensity into it.  It's a big value in our family.  Work and play are IMPORTANT.  When Josiah plays baseball he plays with all his heart.  When Noah works in the workshop....he builds with all his heart and uses all his imagination. 

We love that about our kids.
Work and play...both important...and both deserve our best effort.

These are good days

Monday, April 17, 2017

Hiking & Playing in San Simeon

It's our practice to work 6 days a week and then rest 1 day a week.  We call this day of rest, "sabbath".  Our sabbaths are TRUE sabbaths.  We don't use the internet, we turn off our phones, and often we get outa' town in the hopes of being on a hike or skiing on a hill.

We do this for most of the month, but for the last couple years, we have taken a double sabbath once a month.  For example, once a month we take a Friday evening to Sunday morning sabbath.  This 40ish hour sabbath has been a blessing to us in this season of church planting and community development.

Recently we went to San Simeon on the central coast for our two-day sabbath.  Here are some pictures:

There is something powerful about watching your kids play without inhabitation.  We somehow can loose this as adults.  The fear of "being watching" of "being judged" and "being silly" can become paralyzing for adults.  When I watch my kids play....I learn what Jesus meant when he said, "to such as these the Kingdom of God comes."


One of the reasons we love San Simeon as our place of rest is because it is ALWAYS beautiful.  This no filter ^^ a normal night in San Simeon.  The earth truly declares the glory of God.

...we are starting to look old...but we FEEL young...and ALIVE!  

These are good days.  
Sabbath keeping is our joy!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Skiing as a family

We don't blog about it every time.  
That would get old.

With 4 kids under 7...getting out of the house is always a miracle. Can I get an amen?
But nearly week we ski.  Our 7 year-old and 5 year-old are skiing greens now and Noah our 3 year-old is just figuring out how to stand up on his skis.  But he's trying! 

How do you guys do it, people ask?  People give us hi-fives at the ski hill when they see us walking around with our mob.  But there are some trade secrets that make this possible.

Here are our top-five tips:

1.  Keep everyones ski clothes in the car.  Seriously, stay locked and loaded.  Packing and unpacking is a joy-killer.

2.  As parents, we rarely ski on the days we bring our kids.  When we bring the kids up...the older two go skiing, and the younger two play in the snow with mom and dad.  One day we'll all ski together....that season is about 5 years away.  Suck it up, mom and dad....make the day about them.

3.  Don't spend all-day at the kill.  Thinking morning to lunch.  Anything longer is a bonus.  

4. Pack extra everything -- extra gloves, extra lip balm, extra socks, get the idea.  Kids are the ultimate loosers....they loose everything. 

5.  Bring friends who don't ski.  Hangout friends are a great addition to a ski-day.  First, you always treat your kids better when your friends are watching and you usually have more fun being a parent when you have parental support!  Plus, your kids will appreciate having another friend to hangout with.  

^^ a selfie on the way to the hill

^^ God's nectar on the way to the hill

Josiah's first season skiing greens all on his own! 

Noah's still our little snow bunny

.....and Joel will start remembering this next year.

China Peak, our local ski-hill is a great ski hill.  We have MANY days that look just like this!

Skiing together is one of our family traditions. 
It's always tough to get out of the house...but if you can make it happen, the reward is always worth it! 

These are good days! 

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