We had some very special visitors drive through the wheat fields for a week-long visit:
We live on the Palouse - it's a region of the Northwest. We're surrounded by fields in every direction (mostly wheat and lentils). We moved here in the late fall, when everything had been harvested. It was brown and dry. Everyone kept telling us "just wait until Spring". Sure enough, it's gorgeous here! It's like someone covered the entire place in lush, green carpet. I'm so glad our visiting family came when they did. The weather was perfect and it looked like this the whole time they were here.
We were able to see and do a lot in the time they were here: Hiked Kamiak Butte, toured our small towns (only took us five hours), visited Manito Park, The Milk Bottle, Riverside Park, went boating on Hayden Lake, played in the sand on Couer d' Alene, went to see Toy Story 3, went on bike rides, walks and flew kites. Here are some favorite memories :
We hiked up Kamiak Butte the first full day that they were here. We stopped at the top to have some snacks and take some photos (including this one). Yaks was looking around and counting all of the people in our group, and seemed happy to go past the number five. He said, "Mom, now we have more family!" The way he said it he wasn't just talking about the number, but could really feel the bond and love that's around when family are near. The more the merrier - we all felt that this week.
Every day Abby did Boo's hair. She would create the most amazingly beautiful braids. I tried to watch so that I could maybe teach myself how to braid that way. I think with some practice I could maybe figure out a single french braid.
Boo thought herself a princess with a crown all day, and coupled with this pretty new dress from Nana, she almost looked the part! Boo loved the special attention.
With Abby just home from teaching in China for six months, she wanted to share some of her experiences with us. We heard many fun stories, saw lots of pictures. She helped us recreate the recipe for Jiaozi, and taught the kids colors and counting to ten in Chinese. They really picked it up quickly!
Diddles took a while longer to warm up to all of the visitors. It's sad that she hasn't really grown up around family like the other two kids have. It took her about four days to feel totally comfortable with everyone. On their last day here, Josh and I went out on a date for a few hours. Nana was even able to put her to bed! Hooray for family babysitters!
We went on a walk around our town's main street and along part of the bike trail. It was getting hot and the kids were starting to droop. Josh ran ahead and climbed into this tree that was hanging over the river. The kids came around the corner, under the bridge and he surprised them.
Check out their faces when they discovered him! Priceless.
The Rose Hill Garden was in full bloom at Manito Park. Last time we visited the park in the early Spring, nothing was growing. The entire hill smelled like roses! Ah, it was heavenly!
We remembered our sand toys this time, and the kids spent hours in the blazing sun playing in the sand pit. Annette noticed a man wandering around the park who was looking in the grass for something. She asked him what he was looking for and he gestured to his ring finger and said, "I lose ring. Yellow (gold) ring." He was European, and didn't speak very much English. Josh, Abby and Stewart stopped what they were doing and went to help him. I think they must have searched for a good half hour with no success. Stewart later told us he said a silent prayer for patience that they would find it. The man was ready to give up and thanked them for trying, when suddenly Stewart spotted it right there in the grass! The man was so grateful. I've never seen bigger smiles than on that group of searchers. It was truly a great WIN and a tender mercy.
For lunch we stopped at The Milk Bottle who are famous for their thick shakes. Diddles and I shared a raspberry one. That girl likes ice cream almost as much as her mommy!
Stewart and Annette have some friends with a beautiful house on Hayden Lake in Couer d' Alene. They let us all spend the day there relaxing and enjoying all of their toys. I think this experience took the cake for Yaks. He fell in love while we were there.
This is Capri. Yaks wanted to take her home, or at least stay for "two more nights"and never leave her side. She fetches rocks from the water and lets you rub her tummy, and doesn't lick or jump up. Even Boo was enjoying her by the end of our stay, and that's saying something.
Two of their daughters (Natalie and Jill) took the kids out on the tubes. They also let them play video games and feed Capri treats.
Josh did some wake surfing (I think that's what this sport is called).
Stewart did some wake surfing too. He has his own unique style. :)
Speaking of style, Yaks seemed to adopt the Evil Knievel style of tubing! He was standing up and jumping from tube to tube and sticking his feet in the water, and holding on with one hand. This is the boy who won't ride his training wheel bike down our driveway!
The following day we spent playing in the sand on Couer d' Alene Lake. Finally the kids' wish to play on the "beach" came true. They were so happy!
Josh built us some shade using our camera tripod, the Chariot stroller, and some rope he brought along, "just in case". Even after this was built, he was still kicking himself for not being "prepared".
Isn't that view something? We live here! Come visit us so we can have "even more family."