Thursday, June 11, 2009

It Doesn't Get Better Than This!!

There are two places I love more than anywhere else on earth. One is Hawaii and the other is the Animas Valley in Colorado.

About every two years since our honeymoon we have made the trek to the cool pine country where we stay at the company condo just north of Durango, and enjoy sleeping in, going on walks, reading books on the back porch, swimming , and any other local activity we feel up to—such as river rafting, and the Alpine Slide.

This past week was our trek time. And even better, it was my birthday. Wes planned a big surprise activity for the celebration and all the kids, in-laws and our grandbaby came along for the celebration. And they all managed to keep the surprise a secret!!
Just having the family all together was a treat! I loved listening to everyone visit and tease. And of course I loved spending time with Carly. It was so fun to see her reaction when she would see me or Wes. She would smile a big smile, hold out her arms and then bounce her arms and legs up and down as fast as she could until we took her. There are few things in life, I believe, that will warm my heart more than that did.

But, back to my big adventure. . . . I may love planning parties, but Wes is the best at planning fun activities. We got up early in the morning and drove down to the train station where we picked up the Durango Silverton Train. The train ride alone is a treat and we loved watching the scenery as it passed by.

After an hour ride, we disembarked at a remote resort (reached only by train or helicopter) where they had a zip line course. Our entire day was spent riding the zip line. It was so much fun!!

We went through their training session and put on our gear. There were twenty people there that day and eight were with us (Michelle made the sacrifice to stay home and babysit Carly). The crew/guides asked us how we all knew each other. We told them we were all one family and they asked, “So, like you are cousins?” No, we explained, Wes and I were the parents and the others were our children. For the rest of the day they called me “Super Mom” –which I liked, by the way, and kept saying to us, “You guys have the funnest family!”

The crew (which were college aged kids from all over the world) was very helpful, polite and kind. They learned our names within the first ten minutes of being there and this particular young man quickly came to Kristen’s rescue when she cut her hand. He not only provided a Band Aid, but he also took her blood pressure and her heart rate. He told her if she needed anything else he was at her beck and call. Hmmmmm.

Half way through the day we stopped for a very yummy lunch by the river and then began the more challenging course. The most fun was when we traveled at 35 miles an hour over 1,400 feet zipping through the trees and over the river.

Everyone developed their own style of "soaring". Camille (who is on a separate, higher line, by the way) clung tightly to the rope and screamed most of the way. I, for some reason, kept my legs straight out in front of me which resulted in some rather sore stomach muscles the next day.

Kristen liked the flare of the one arm approach.

Kali usually had one leg straight and the other bent and her coat flowing behind her. It was a look that made us think of Mary Poppins meets Super Hero.

And Ryan (shown below) Dave, Wes and Kathryn all tried going upside down. Dave was totally crazy and spent most of his time in that position.

After a very fun day, we took the train home where we picked up Michelle and Carly and headed into Durango for a birthday dinner at Mutu’s Italian Restaurant.

We finished off the night with cake and ice cream back at the condo. By the way, I am not 42, but my kids are kind and allow me the fantasy of pretending to be. Here Carly is helping blow out the candles.

It was a great day and I loved every minute of it. I am so grateful to my wonderful family and especially Wes, who spent so much time and effort planning it and making sure I felt loved and reminded that no matter how old we get, there are still a lot of good times--and adventures-- ahead!


Lisa said...

What a great way to celebrate your birthday. The scenery looks beautiful and to have all your family with you. Priceless.

Happy Birthday friend! Your family was right- you do look 42.

MissKris said...

I love the pictures! Hope it was a perfect birthday. I sure love you!
I'm glad to have SUPER MOM!

Xazmin said...

OH, Happy Birthday! Sounds like such a wonderful time!

You have such a wonderful family to be proud of.

Momza said...

Will you adopt me?

KC Mom said...

What a great adventure!! I'm scared of heights...wonder if I could do that.
Looks so beautiful there.

Becky said...

Happy birthday! What a fun trip!

Jenny-Jenny said...

Wow, I wish I were there with you right now! Happy Happy Birthday!

Marilyn said...

Happy Birthday! What a fun day. I think you are so brave to do the zip line stuff. The photos are so gorgeous. What a great place!

Shewinn8 said...

Now THAT is the way to celebrate a birthday. You all looked like you were having so much fun. And yes we did go to Durango for our honeymoon. Well actually we drove from Provo to Houston (my hometown) in a beat up silver Buick Century with no A/C because we were so poor. lol But our big splurge was two nights and three days in Durango and riding the train. That was such a highlight that Durango will always hold a special place in my heart. Thank you for sharing the pictures. They were a trip back in time for me. Btw: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! :)

Shewinn8 said...

P.S. I LOVE zip lines! jealous!

Dave and Camille said...

Happy Birthday! I'm so glad I have such a hot mom :)

Christina said...

What an awesome surprise for you. You have so much to be proud of -- your family is so beautiful and they are all making such great choices. If my children turn out like yours I will be very happy in 10 1/2 years when I reach that birthday.

I hope the next ten years are even better for you as the last ten.

Emmy said...

What a fun trip! We lived in Durango for two and a half years and liked it.
It is a different place to be when you are a member of the church though (our ward was 75% inactive). I laughed when I read that people were asking you about your kids... in Durango if you have a lot of kids you are definitely the minority and probably over populating the earth; but you can have all of the dogs you want :)
It is one of the most beautiful places I have been to though just an interesting place to live.