It was at least a month in the works. Brooke’s birthday was coming up and her husband wanted to do something special. So the plan was hatched and it all came together to wonderful surprises for Brooke. Out of town and out of state family all came in for this special weekend. Due to arrival times, Mom, Dad, David, and I surprised Brooke Friday evening. Brooke was sitting on her porch in the back yard talking to Nathan and Leaa, who had a planned trip and arrived the night before. There was a spot open right next to Brooke on the stairs, so I slipped in. She turned, mid-sentence, and stared at me for a little bit, “what are you doing here”, followed with a long hug and some tears. Then Brooke spotted Mom and Dad.
We had to lie a little bit in order to cover for those arriving the next morning. I am sure our stories were not convincing, but it worked.
The next morning, on a cold and breezy afternoon, Brooke rounded the corner of a pavilion to see Trent, Tori, and Leanne. Shock and hugs ensued. This began a weekend of new memories and laughter, with some tears sprinkled in. After most of the family left town, David and I went to do some exploring and were met with some disappointing adventures, but ended with a stunning hike.
Alright, are you ready for some pictures, and more stories? Lets begin.
David and I stayed at Aaron and Carolyn’s new home (which they haven’t moved into yet). They have two pet peacocks, that came with the house. This is Antonio. Penny was hiding all weekend nesting some eggs.
Brooke favored Aaron with a nice back massage.
Saturday morning, the family all met at a nearby park, waiting for Brooke to arrive. I spotted this slide and new I just had to go down. And so I did. No regrets!
David and I enjoyed some time on the swings.
And then David tried to impress me.
Capri enjoyed being pushed on the swings by Grandma.
Capri was also fearless riding the big slide.
Leanne, Tori, and Trent, were the surprises Saturday morning.
You can see the shock on Brooke’s face when she spotted the rest of the family.
Nathan (in the background), Tori, Brooke, Trent (holding Axel), and Dad.
After the surprise and some donuts, we all sat in the cold for some chatting. (Back left rounding the circle) Brooke, Trent, Nathan, Carolyn, and Tori.
Mom, Jaycee, Brooke, Trent, and Nathan.
The park includes a natural field as far as the eye can see.
Multiple walkways wind through the meadow.
Almost the whole family (missing Alex)
We then headed inside to the warmth and spent more time with family.
Axel decided he needed some rest from all the fun.
Later Saturday afternoon, the family headed down to Bowl and Pitcher in Riverside State Park.
Me and David.
All the little kids were climbing this rock, so I felt I needed to also.
Chalyce at the top of the rock.
Whoever goes up, must come down.
I believe each of the little kids made their way to the top, some two or three times.
A view of the bridge from the rocks.
One set of the rocks jutting out into the raging Spokane River.
A view of the river from the bridge. Only a month ago, the water was splashing up over the bridge itself!
Me and David on the bridge.
On the other side of the bridge, Me and Brooke.
The raging Spokane river from the shore. You do not want to fall in there.
A look back at the bridge, from the shore.
David decided to venture out onto some rocks, despite my worrying.
The kids enjoyed throwing rocks into the river.
After mustering some bravery, I decided to join David on the rock. Here you can see the family on the shore line.
And then the shoreline from above.
The original six. Nathan, Trent, Brooke, Aaron, Leanne, and Me.
The original 8. Mom, Nathan, Trent, Brooke, Aaron, Leanne, Me, and Dad.
Brooke and Cody’s family. Cody, Brooke, Ryker, Jaycee, Lauren, Chalyce, and Brody.
After returning from the river, the adults went out to dinner.
Brooke enjoyed a large bowl of ice cream to celebrate her birthday.
Brooke and Cody.
The adults. David, Me, Leaa, Nathan, Mom, Dad, Brooke, Cody, Leanne, Carolyn, Aaron, Tori, and Trent. The older kids got babysitting duty.
Sunday morning. This is such a lovely view from Aaron and Carolyn’s new kitchen.
Antonio put on a few shows for us over the weekend. Unfortunately, I only had my camera for this show, of which I had a backseat.
Most of us went out to see Grandpa and Gma on Sunday morning.
The view from the cemetery is always a beautiful one.
After church, everyone gathered at Aaron and Carolyn’s new home for a BBQ.
David and I got some relaxing shuteye in the hammock.
View from the hammock.
We then had a mouth watering Rhubarb Crisp for Brooke’s birthday cake. David, Brooke, Sydney, Jaycee, Brody, Corinne, Ainsley, and Aaron holding the crisp.
Ryker then needed some Mom loves.
Then he gave some loves.
David enjoyed the tree swing at Aaron and Carolyn’s.
We also ventured out to their pond in the front yard.
Before the evening ended, David and I started a game of keep-away with the kids. Jaxton runs to Brody.
Camryn, Ainsley, Syndey, and Jaxton all go for the football.
David and I tried out some local Spokane food joints. We started with a disappointing meal at Dick’s Hamburgers, and fended off seagulls the whole meal.
We drove about 2 hours to Palouse Falls.
The vista was stunning, but we were unable to find the path to hike down around the falls and river. We were disappointed.
Panoramic view of Palouse Falls
We also tried a less disappointing stop at Zip’s.
We then drove up Mt. Spokane. While the summit was closed we certainly enjoyed the mountain air and aroma.
Me and David.
One out drive back down, we stopped to do a hike.
The greenery was a close second to Oregon. But Washington has its own sort of beauty.
We headed back to Utah on Wednesday. We survived hours of heavy rain and hydro-planing on the freeway. We had a short work week before we hit the next weekend.
David and I are trying the weekly meal delivery service, Blue Apron. So far we have enjoyed unique, healthy meals.
Theo has discovered an odd love. He sticks his head into the spray of sprinklers. He absolutely loves it, and ends up very, very wet.
Early Saturday morning, David and I met with Beth and Mike to begin a four hours drive to Buhl, Idaho. While searching for a campsite, we stopped at Idaho’s Balance Rock.
We hiked up the short, but steep hill.
We then stopped at Shoshone Falls. The spray from the falls was incredible. We were able to snap this photo before the lens watered up and we were a mess.
The falls were beautiful.
A panoramic view of Shoshone Falls.
We stopped for lunch, just above the falls. This stretch of the water was so quiet compared to the ferocious noise of the falls.
After the four hour drive, and another few hours driving around, we were unable to find a camping spot. Combined with the twenty hour drive to Washington, David and I were done and decided just to drive back home and sleep in our own beds.
That was the past two weeks. Looking forward to this next week, where we will go camping with our friend Ryan. I am camping more this summer than almost in my entire life!
Despite a horrible turn of events, the week and weekend was a blast and a much needed respite from the world. You will soon see what the horrible “event” was. But before I get there, David and I have been trying to be better at cooking and healthy eating. We have been choosing recipes and doing more cooking than we have in the past. One of our first nights was assigned to me. I made a slow cooker stroganoff, It turned out well despite being a slow cooker virgin. The meal just didn’t stand up to my mom’s homemade stroganoff though. So I asked my mom to send me her recipe and will use it going forward.
The stroganoff just finishing up in the slow cooker.
I enjoyed a nice bath bomb in the middle of the week. A bath boom is a ball that disintegrates in the water releasing aromas and minerals in the water.
Theo enjoying a setting sun from the couch.
For the weekend we drove up to Kamas, Utah to camp with our friends Dan and Jordan. We thought our odds of finding a camping spot would be one in a million but were surprised to discover we had our pick of many open camping sites. We drove through several camping areas and nailed it down to two final sites. After deciding on the final, I started to drive to the chosen site when… CRUNCH.
A rock punctured my tire and scrapped along the side of my car.
I don’t know how I didn’t see this thing, but it did my little Chopin (my car’s name) in.
Thankfully, we drove up two cars for camping.
Dan and Jordan jumped into action, putting the spare on my car and driving me back into town so I could place an order for my tire’s replacement. My tires have to be special ordered due to their size, so I figured the long weekend would help get ahead.
Little Chopin with a little donut tire.
I did my best to put the frustrating situation behind me and enjoy the camp out. We chose a site close to the river. The sound of rushing water was a welcomed relaxant.
Jordan proud of his tent skills.
The site had a beautiful mix of trees and hills for viewing.
Next on the agenda was starting the fire.
David and Dan had no problem getting it started.
After a successful fire, we started on dinner.
Jordan made a nice lime chicken and rice dinner for everyone.
As the sun started to set, we broke out the traditional smore ingredients.
Most of us had a peaceful night sleep, and for those who didn’t sleep much (myself included) enjoyed the sound of the river.
We were lucky to find a flat spot right next to the river.
After packing up the camp site, we drove up the rest of the canyon to see if we could explore Mirror Lake.
The snow was too deep and the roads were closed, so we didn’t make it to Mirror Lake.
We did however, enjoy the beautiful winter vista.
David doesn’t like snow.
Dan was showing us his Portrait Mode on the iPhone. I then discovered I had a similar mode (Lens Blur) on my phone (which I will be using a lot going forward). Photo Credit: Dan Bunker
Jordan, Me, David, and Dan. Photo Credit: Dan Bunker
Our camping crew. Photo Credit: Dan Bunker
Sitting in town while I order some new tires. Me, Jordan, David, and Dan. Photo Credit: Dan Bunker
Photo Credit: Dan Bunker
On Memorial Day, some of David’s family went for a hike up Ferguson Canyon.
There are many rock walls that climbers scale in Ferguson Canyon.
Theo was selected to be a model for an outdoor/adventure dog leash company. So we took advantage of the hike to get some photos of him with his leash.
We are going to use this one.
Inside Ferguson Canyon.
David, ever the adventurer on hikes. He has boundless amounts of energy.
Using the Lens Blur feature on my phone.
Theo is getting more and more brave. He will go almost anywhere to follow David.
The sun was out today and it was very warm, but the trees provided shade, which gave a cooling effect for those hiking in the canyon.
Our final turn around point in the canyon was this waterfall. This is the farthest I have ever been in Ferguson Canyon.
Again, using the Lens Bur effect.
David falling, or climbing? You choose.
We then posed Theo for some more leash modeling photos.
I think we will send this one in to the company as well.
Looking North West into the Salt Lake Valley.
Full panoramic view of the Salt Lake Valley.
Ending the Memorial Day Weekend, David baked this delicious cinnamon roll, caramel apple pie. He did such a delicious job.
I guess I missed some photos from last week’s post, so here they are.
David bought me my favorite flowers last week. For as long as I can remember hydrangeas have been my favorite.
We invited Cole and Bailee over for dinner. Cole will be leaving for a few months to Massachusetts for a research opportunity.
I made a homemade fettuccine chicken alfredo pasta.
We also stirred up a caesar salad.
Cole and Bailee brought this delicious bread, which I have already forgotten the name of. It made the perfect companion to the rest of the meal.
The final meal. We had a wonderful night with Cole and Bailee. We wish Cole the best of luck in Boston and look forward to his return.