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!
Happy Mother’s day to all the women who may read this blog. Children or not, you are all a major contribution to society and I thank you. And to my mother, I love you! I will always cherish our amazing memories together. Thank you for being my advocate and friend.
Theo got to discover the magic of apples and bananas. He absolutely loves apples.
We have been working on setting up our patio, so that we can fully enjoy the summer vista. More of this to come next week.
Theo and David have been getting to spend some quality time in the new hammock. I can’t tell who enjoys it more, David or Theo.
We got Theo to take a bath this week. He doesn’t try and jump out of the tub. He simply stands and takes the brunt of what a bath entails.
An evening this week, Bryce, David, and I ventured out to Liberty Park to walk around.
We wondered a little into the evening before calling it and heading back home.
I just love these sunsets so much!
On Saturday, David and I took Theo to the park to work on some training. David, feeling a little rebellious, wandered into the no trespassing area.
Theo took a little breather before we got into the training.
We really worked on heeling. We started out with the leash an then tried with no leash. Theo still needs a lot more training.
He does heel extremely well if he walks in the middle of David and I.
As a reward, Theo got to play in the tall grass and weeds. It’s so cute watching him prance around like a deer.
We are still trying to get Theo to pose. While he is slowing increasing the time he will stay posed, we manage to snap a few good pictures.
The fishing ponds in the South Jordan, East Riverfront Park.
We finished out the afternoon with a run through the grass.
We ventured out to the La Callie trail on Sunday afternoon with Theo and Abby. This spring time foliage is really pretty and the Wasatch Mountains really top of the view.
A runoff stream passing through the tress on our journey.
Abby was brave enough to get some water from the stream. Theo’s bravery landed him in the water while trying to jump over the stream.
After the water breaks, we headed deeper into the trail.
The river is really high right now.
It never ceases to amaze me how loud water can be. It’s volume, I’m sure, is a small indication of its force.
While opening gifts at the Swain’s for Mother’s Day, Theo got an unwelcome head piece.
We set up a blanket to lay out in the back yard, while Jackson and Aynsley enjoyed the hammock.
After such an eventful weekend, Theo crashed in the back seat of the car on the drive home.