End Of The Summer

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With the days cooling down, and football in the air. It is time to call it … Yes my friends it is the end of summer. Yes, it is time to bring out the school books and those dirty looks. Yes, it is time for the days to begin to get short. Time for my favorite time of the year Yes, Fall is my favorite time of the year. Yes, my friends it is time for football, falling leaves, mowing those falling leaves, rain (oh rain I have missed you so), fall hikes, sweaters, and normal hot coffee. Anyway I just wanted to share the last (well maybe the last) picture of the Thames Kids 2015 Summer Edition photo.


Ages: Zoe 10, Zeke 6, Oliver 5, Abby 4 and Charlotte 18 Months

Ages: Zoe 10, Zeke 6, Oliver 5, Abby 4 and Charlotte 18 Months

~Greg Thames

Island Time……Northwest Style….

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A few days ago we went to visit some friends that live on Whidbey Island. Well, it is safe to say that it was one of the rare times we were able to get out of the house without pain or suffering.  A pretty smooth (for us) operation, we were so smooth in the transition from house to van that we left a bit early.  Ah, the feeling of not being rushed.  And no we didn’t forget anyone (this time) but we did get to Whidbey a bit early, so early in fact that if we went directly to our friends place we would have been about a hour early. So we decided to find a beach, or harbor to explore for a bit since we didn’t want to invite ourselves too early.


So we found a cute, little boating community that had a little beach front we could play at.  The kids took no time at all finding shells and other dead things to play with.



Even Charlotte was able to get into the action, but I not sure she wanted to get in on the action.


Because 2 seconds after taking this picture she dropped the crab, with a look of disgust.


It was a very fun way to start off our visit to Whidbey Island.  We were even able to burn off enough time here that we were back into our natural element of running late again.

Oh well, Life is short and God is good so might as well enjoy all the little get aways you can.



The Josties @ Grace Church Bellingham

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Last wednesday night our family had the pleasure of worshiping the creator of the universe with a family music group from Alberta, Canada named The Josties.  It was a real treat to listen to the wonderful music about God’s love, faithfulness and truth.  To be totally honest, I have never heard of them until about a three weeks ago or so.  When Merriann told me about them coming to town for a free concert.

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Honestly, I wasn’t planning on going.  There is a great homeschool event in our state capital which I was planning for our family to attend (which is the Christian Heritage’s Day at the Capital) but thanks be to God, I got the date wrong and it is the following Wednesday.  So we gathered the crew together and wandered over to the concert.

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We got there a little early and got to meet a few of their family.  They are a real sweet family, Two of the boys, Joseph and Jeremiah Jost and our little Charlotte hit it off from the very beginning.  Those three were just wandering all over the church together, laughing and having a good ole time.  But then it was time to sit down and the concert begin.  I am not sure that even as the concert started I was aware of the style of music I was about to have my kids listening too.. (I know, I know I am a “Worst Dad of the Year” award finalist.)

Jost Concert Finished-9

But one of the blessings from God are the friends whom he has put in our lives.  And as I looked around the room I saw more than a few very familair faces in the crowd.  So my comfort level was pretty high.  And when the music begin any concerns I had pretty much melted away.  The concert began with a young man in named Andrew, who is new to our area.  His songs were rich with meaning, gave honor to Christ, and it didn’t hurt that he sounded pretty good too (which is a plus in my book).

Jost Concert Finished-2

Then the Jost’s (or The Josties) came up next.  I was surprised by one of the first things that Dale (the Dad) said.  He said, that they were here to worship God with us  and inspire us in the fight.  But then he said please don’t look to us as a way to have a perfect family we are not that or a family to compete with.  He then asked us to our keep focus of Jesus.  Man, I mean that is a great way to start a concert, with a big ole slice of humble pie.

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So yes it was a great night of fun, friends (new and old), and praising the Lord of hosts. Oh by the way, they sing a blue grass type music if you were wondering.  Merriann and I would whole heartily recommend you see them if they are in your area.  Ok now that my once a year post is done, party time!!

Jost Concert Finished-5

See ya next year (maybe) 🙂

Greg Thames


Homeschool Trip 2014: Canyonlands

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Our next stop was Canyonlands.  Honestly, by this point in our trip we were starting to get a little worn.  We’d been on the move the whole time and we were moving a bit slower each morning.  This year was the 75th anniversary for Canyonlands so it was quite a popular place to be.  As a result, our hotel was a little over an hour away.

This was really cool to see.  The rocks were green!  This was on the drive into Canyonlands.  We found out from the ranger its the same rusting process that changes the rocks red but for these there was no oxygen.  So instead of red they turn green.  How cool is that!  Another great science lesson.


We were also stopped by these rocks.  I mean really the rocks around here are pretty amazing.  I love all the different textures, shapes and colors.  These also had the added benefit of having a helicopter on top.  These rocks reminded me of a rock monster.  I was expecting them to come alive and start moving any minute!


We finally wound our way to the top of this “Island in the Sky.”



The kids got started on their Junior Ranger books right away.




This was pretty much how we all felt as we listened to yet another “millions/billions/trillions” lecture.  It was getting a bit old.  The rangers would throw it in even when it had nothing to do with their talk.  So, no, we don’t believe in millions of years.  We believe in a created earth as described in the Bible.


We didn’t do much hiking in this area.  Its a large park and most of the trails are long.   We found a great spot to eat lunch and work on the kids’ books but no one was excited for a hike.  So, we did a car tour and headed back to the hotel.


Homeschool Trip 2014: Bryce Canyon

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Next up…


What can I say, it was amazing!  I may have mentioned it before but, one of the things I loved about this trip was how different each area was.   In just one way, in Zion you start at the bottom and hike up.  Makes it nice for the return.


In Bryce, you start at the top and make your way down.  The decent is great.  You start to see the real size of the canyon as you feel smaller and smaller.

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And at the bottom its almost a different world.  As you’d expect each trial had sign.  But they also had a Benchmark (metal disc) on the sign to get a rubbing of.  The challenge in Bryce is to bring at least three rubbings back to show you Hiked the Hoodoos.  We would have loved to ‘collect them all’  but only had time for the three.  For this we rewarded ourselves with some ‘I hiked the Hoodoos’ t-shirts.

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Then the accent.


We chose a more gradual accent the second day but either way what goes down must come up.  These were probably the more challenging hikes and the kids did great.

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Once the trails were done we headed down the main road to see some other views.  We didn’t quite make it to the end before the sun set but we saw some other great sites.


Natural Bridge was one of those on our list.  We took along with us a great resource from True North on Bryce Canyon.  We really enjoyed being able to see these sites with information from a creation pint of view.


Homeschool Trip 2014: Mammoth Caves

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On my birthday we toured around the area and did some exploring.  We came across the Duck Creek area and even found a cute little visitor center. _MG_5649-1 We had seen signs about Mammoth Caves and inquired within.  The gentleman there gave us this great map and we were off. _MG_5653-3 The “road” through this area was questionable at times.  The recent rains also had us a little nervous.  One thing we don’t have on our van is 4-wheel drive.  And we won’t mention all the turns that weren’t on the map.  Thankfully they kept putting out these signs to keep us moving forward. _MG_5729-11 We loved seeing these Pronghorn roaming around.  There was a little heard of about 7 of these guys grazing. _MG_5673-4 We finally made it!  We had a nice little walk round the area before heading into the cave.  Ok, I’ll be honest.  We are apparently directionally challenged and were searching for the huge hole in the ground.  Yes, that one you see below.  The one we could have thrown a rock into from our car.  Thats the one.  Oh well, it made our trip just that much more memorable.  And we saw some great views from the edge of the mountain. _MG_5680-6 _MG_5651-2 ‘Mammoth’ in this case did not refer to the height of these caves. _MG_5698-8 _MG_5696-7 _MG_5711-9 The shorties of the group were able to go in with no problem but those over four feet had some trouble.  Especially with the additional baby on the back.  So, the spelunking adventure was a little shorter than expected but, still fun memories. _MG_5723-10 We headed back to the hotel for some teriyaki chicken and cheesecake _MG_5734-12 Thanks a lot honey…  🙂 _MG_5735-13 _MG_5743-15 See you next time! _MG_5741-14

Homeschool Trip 2014: Cedar Breaks

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On the road to Bryce Canyon we came across this little place.  It was a fun, quick stop to get out and stretch our legs. It also gave us a taste of what we would encounter later.


At each of the parks the kids would get their Junior Ranger books and work toward earning their badges.


The ranger at this stop was great.  He was so excited the kids were working on their books and went through each step with them before giving their badge to them.