The Last Spring Break “Granny Camp”

Our two LA city grandchildren have been coming up to visit for most every spring break since they were two years old. Since Jaden is 18, that is nearly 16 years—interrupted a couple of times for a larger family trip, including one year to South Korea. This spring is the last time they will come together because Jaden will be in college next year.

Their mother and father no longer escort them. They have grown into two fine young people who are remarkably helpful and competent. And, since they like to earn money, our weeklong time has gone from a focus on entertainment to an opportunity to learn some outdoor chores—not something they get to do in their LA apartment.

Sasha, Christina, and Jaden on the ferry to Whidbey Island for their last annual granny camp.

Vivi welcoming Sasha and Jaden to our home.










Nature exploration has always been a part of granny camp

Of course, we always get out to explore nature. This time a campfire and hike with our friends and theirs, Nicole and Janet. And that’s the thing: our friends have become theirs over the years. (I don’t have photos of all the adults they spent time with, but you know who you are and your presence in their lives means a lot.) Community has been an important part of their time with us.

Nicole, Janet Sasha, Jaden, Christina and Vivi hiking at Ft. Ebey State Park

Jaden perched on a cedar stump at Ft. Ebey State Park









Sasha preparing to put her intentions into the campfire.

Outdoor chores for pay had a big appeal

Because we live rurally, there are many opportunities for outdoor chores—planting the first seeds in the spring garden, splitting wood to dry for next winter, and raking up debris from under our big Douglas fir trees.

Sasha planting the first pea seeds of the spring.

Jaden moving logs to split.








Sasha using the log splitter.

One of the values we teach our grandkids is the importance of community volunteering. They worked with our local well association to clean up debris from winter storms.










Daily circles and evening board games balanced out their experience

Time indoors cooking together, drawing animal cards for our morning circles, playing board games in the evening, and, of course, playing with Vivi filled our days. The weather was more challenging than usual, but we persevered.

Oh, no, snow during spring break!

Evening board games were an important part of the week. Christina and Sasha playing tile rummy.












Looking for colleges with Jaden

An added element at the end of this year’s time in our home was taking Jaden to visit Sonoma State University—one of three college acceptances he has gotten.

The morning before we did the campus tour we drew animal cards at the restaurant and spoke about the things to look for in a tour. And reviewed questions we might ask.

Jaden standing in front of the SSU Charles Schulz library next to Lucy of the snoopy cartoons.










We stayed with friends Sara Harris and Ken Smith to add the experience of a local connection and the reminder of community.




At day’s end after the campus tour we drovean hour to Bodega Bay State Park to take in the magnificence of the Pacific Ocean.

If there is any greater privilege than having an opportunity to pour love, encouragement, skills and possibilities into a young person, I don’t know what it might be. Thank you, Sally and Joe, for entrusting us with your beautiful children.


28 replies
  1. Dr. Jude A. Rathburn
    Dr. Jude A. Rathburn says:

    What an amazing privilege it has been to read about your spring break adventures with your beautiful and talented grandkids over the years. Thank you Ann for sharing your stories and pouring your love into the future of our earth family. Best wishes to all of you as you adjust to Jaden’s transition to college. And congrats Jaden!

  2. Marti Beddoe
    Marti Beddoe says:

    When the Grandmothers speak, the Earth will heal. If there ever were two wise women whose presence has healed many, you and Christina are it! What treasured memories you have built with Jaden and Sasha. Your legacy will live on in your precious grands!
    All my purple love to all, Marti

  3. Susie Lynch
    Susie Lynch says:

    Especially love the tree Jaydon is sitting on! Your teaching spirit is extra special with Grand love❤️❤️

  4. Kathryn Marie Harrington
    Kathryn Marie Harrington says:

    Thank you for sharing your photos of your final Granny Camp with Jaden and Sasha. They are wonderful kids and it is a joy to hear about all of the things that you and Christina did with them.

  5. Gretchen Staebler
    Gretchen Staebler says:

    Sasha and Jaden are so lucky! My oldest two would be too, but their parents won’t let them fly alone. My own children’s memories, though, are infused with the love of their grandparents and sense of place because of cross-country visits to my parents. And the care with which you plan their time with you is nothing short of astonishing! You inspire.

  6. Larry Houff
    Larry Houff says:

    Years ago Brian Dutcher talked me into joining Facebook. I was a bit apprehensive because I don’t enjoy political nonsense. But I must admit, this is the only way I would ever see others grandchildren and all the wonderful events that are going on with others. The nice thing about your blog is that it goes into more depth. I’d otherwise never get to see these fine, young grandchildren.

    • Ann Linnea
      Ann Linnea says:

      Thank you, Larry! So good to hear from an Austin connection. And, yes, Jaden and Sasha are indeed fine young people and we consider ourselves so very lucky.

  7. Suzanne Fageol
    Suzanne Fageol says:

    so precious – I remember spending time each year with my grandparents – in NYC – got me some city learning for my vacation break – out of nature and into the metropolis! – most important people and community connection – wherever you are – grandparent power – and love…

    • Ann Linnea
      Ann Linnea says:

      I was unable to spend much time alone with my faraway grandparents, but I remember vividly the visits we made to Colorado as a family to spend time with my grandparents and cousins. Those visits shaped and molded me in important ways. Thank you for your reflections. Ann

  8. Bonnie Rae
    Bonnie Rae says:

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. What it means to act as an example to young people and how it is really our responsibility to do so. It’s one thing to read about the impact of progress on our environment and clearly another to be out experiencing what it means to be a good steward of all that remains. You are such a treasure as you “walk the talk” and teach by your example. So grateful for you as friend and teacher. Thank you for this and for all you do to help the next generation understand the value of a life given in service to the earth*

    • Ann Linnea
      Ann Linnea says:

      Bless you, Bonnie Rae.I do try to walk my talk and when I have such beautiful, willing young people, it is so easy! Love, Ann

  9. Tenneson Woolf
    Tenneson Woolf says:

    What a sweet reflection Ann. Thank you. I’m so glad I got to meet Jaden and Sasha on one of my coinciding visits to the island. Thx for the grounding story.

  10. Marina D. Lachecki
    Marina D. Lachecki says:

    Such a joy to read this and see these wonderful pictures.
    Thank you.
    And now I get to begin this grandma time with my first grandchild! Bunkhouse i traduction soon

    • Ann Linnea
      Ann Linnea says:

      Yes, yes, your very own grandmother tradition! The bunkhouse will be perfect and well supported by the whole extended family.

  11. Sandy Foreman
    Sandy Foreman says:

    What a wonderful opportunity you have had these last 16 years to nourish your grandchildren’s love of nature and their curiosity, creativity, opportunities to expand their horizons and learn from the wiser generation! I find that they also share with us their youthful exuberance and unique views on many topics. Wonderful photos of Jaden and Sasha with the two of you! Love from John and myself.

    • Ann Linnea
      Ann Linnea says:

      Thank you Sandy and John! I know you know the beauty of youthful exuberance from your own grandchildren and the privilege and importance of steady contact over time. Ann

  12. Debra MacKillop
    Debra MacKillop says:

    I love your blogs. So HOPEFUL. Thank you for sharing your family and life. I only have one grandson (almost 4 years old) and live pretty close to him. I try to have us be outside playing and exploring as much as possible. I hope I am included in longer outdoor adventures with his family as he grows up. Even at 4 he can help me with chores for change, and thank you for the idea! He’s at an age where he loves to help.

    • Ann Linnea
      Ann Linnea says:

      Thank you. My intention is definitely to bring hopefulness into the world.Lucky you to live close to that four-year-old AND lucky him to have a grandmother who wants to be involved in his life!


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