Eleven hours in the car is quite a trek for a family, but worth it to see Blake, Maren, and the boys. We drove up on Thursday and came back on Sunday. We were just thankful we only had bags and food to pack, not camping equipment.
We told Matthew to read silently for 30 minutes before he got to play the iPad. He was a champ! We brought our portable DVD player (thank goodness for modern technology!) and watched several movies while driving. When we arrived, it was dinnertime and Maren had prepared a delicious meal for us. They are always such wonderful hosts and make us feel so welcome and comfortable. So fun to visit them!
We went on a hike up Kamiak, which we've done before. But this time we went higher. We met a few WSU students on the way who were collecting samples for their entomology class. I mentioned I had an uncle who used to work at UC Riverside. One girl recognized the name Tom Miller, and said she was hoping to work in a similar field. That was neat. They showed us what they'd collected so far.
The scenery was so pretty. Rolling hills and fields of wheat for miles.
They kids spotted a great climbing tree. Colin began working on whittling a spear out of a stick.
Close up groupie:
Mr. Parker was a little champ. Such a cutie. The kids enjoyed climbing around the rocks and discovering things.
There they all are:
At the bottom of Kamiak is a nice playground where we stopped to eat some snacks and let the kids play.
We went to WSU's campus to Ferdinand's for some yummy ice cream.
We stopped by the bear enclosure to watch the big bears be fed and the little cubs wailing for their turn to eat.
Blake and Maren took us to a home where you can pick flowers and pumpkins. What a beautiful spot!
Our kids looked through all the pumpkins and helped the cousins pick out the best ones.
Because it was the end of the season, the woman told us we could just go pick whatever flowers we wanted to. Heaven! They were given scissors and they went to work.
How fun, and what pretty flowers.
Saturday morning Maren participated in Festivus, a CrossFitt competition for "the rest of us" meaning beginners are able to compete. Maren, however, competed in the intermediate category. I had intended to sign up for novice, but because of an injury I held off. I am really glad I got to go watch her compete, though. I hadn't been to anything like this before and I got to see what it's all about. Made me motivated to do it myself next time!
Maren did great, she looked strong. It was awesome to be there to cheer her on.
She surprised herself with how many back squats she pumped out!
And her dead lifts were great.
That afternoon, Blake and Chad took Colin, Micah, and Braden to the WSU football game. Maren was able to score tickets from one of the coach's wives. Not only tickets, but a parking pass, too, which was nice for them. This was Colin's first football game. (We have slacked off in that department, apparently.)
They had a great time. The weather was nice with it being October.
I texted Chad telling him to be sure to get a group picture.
Why so serious, Colin? :)
WSU won--go Cougs!
While they were at the game I left Maren at home to put Parker down for a nap and gave her a chance for some quiet time. The other four (Ella, Mira, Brody, and Matt) I took to the park right by their house. They played at the playground for a while. I pushed them over and over on the merry-go-round.
We made our way over to the ponds and the bridge. Then someone got the idea to reenact the story of The Three Billy Goats Gruff. I was the narrator and they each took turns playing each role, which means the story was told more than a few times. They loved it!
They asked me to take video of it, which I did. I love these innocent moments of childhood. I hope this is one they'll always remember. It seemed perfect to me.
And this is me on the drive home. Need I say more?