After celebrating 40 years in fine style with the whole family, including a fabulous dinner, Don and I decided to extend the anniversary celebration just a little longer with a get-a-way to our just about favorite campground. Olive Ridge is a Forest Service campground about 10 miles south of Estes Park that my parents discovered I-don’t-know-how-many years ago. The giant rocks, gravelly road, and mountain trees have been host to Berrett family reunions and family camping trips enough times that when I think of camping, I always think of our little tent trailer parked at Olive Ridge.
Arriving early on a Tuesday afternoon, we had our pick of spots. Don backed the trailer in, we leveled it, put out the slides, and felt like we were home!
We walked through the campground and reminisced about the times we’d been there when our kids were younger.
Our kids played on these rocks many times
Very similar to our tent trailer
We love it here!
It rained and even hailed a couple of times, but we loved hearing the rain on the roof while we played Qwirkle.
We hiked Deer Mountain and biked around Lake Estes.
Twin Sisters peak behind us
The Stanley Hotel across Lake Estes
And every night we had a campfire – because isn’t that what mountain camping is all about?
Just after Don received his Master’s Degree from BYU, we set out on a Middle East adventure by moving to Iran. After three years there, we continued that adventure with seven years in Saudi Arabia before returning to the United States and settling in Greeley. With a child born in each of those countries, and many great experiences involving friends, travels, sights, sounds and smells from that part of the world, we have very fond memories of our time spent there.
So we were delighted when our kids surprised us with an anniversary dinner at Rumi’s House of Kabob right in our very own Greeley. No, it doesn’t look at all middle eastern, but that actually adds to the authenticity of the whole experience. Because why wouldn’t a middle eastern restaurant be housed in an old home on Colorado’s eastern plains?
The kids had reserved a private room upstairs, those windows over the porch, and Nikki and Brittney handled the decorations.
The menu brought back so many memories – nothing is printed to any particular standard in the middle east!
Family style meal we settled on
check out the upside down note about the bread not being gluten free
We started with hummus, which was some of the best we’ve ever eaten. That was followed by a fabulous red lentil soup (recipe, please?) and a traditional salad. When the main course was served, we determined we’d probably ordered way too much food!
Maybe we didn’t each need to order an entree . . .
Rice, lamb, curry, kabob – all delicious
The hummus was delicious
The older grandchildren enjoyed some of the deliciousness
Don and I especially loved the Lamb shank with Kabsa Rice – #3 of the family style choices. The first luscious bite was enough for us to remember that we had eaten that dish at some Saudi weddings we had attended. The smell and taste transported us right back to Dammam. Don was grateful that this time he could eat at the table using a fork instead of on the floor eating with his hand as he had done at the weddings!
Warning – this group shot was done as a panorama and the resulting picture is a little distorted. At least I’m telling myself that it’s the picture . . . But I’m posting it here to remember that we were all together.
After several hours of eating and reminiscing and a very pleasant evening, we remembered that we had the next generation of Butlers who probably needed some parental attention. Those children and the fact that the restaurant had closed moved us reluctantly down the stairs and out the door.
Thanks Mike and Emily, Nate and Nikki, Mark and Kate, Pete and Brittney! It was a fabulous meal, a very fitting celebration and an evening we will always remember. Your thoughtfulness has not gone unnoticed!
About the beginning of the year, Don and I mentioned that for our 40th anniversary in June, all we really wanted was to have all of our family together. Well, the kids took notice, picked a date that worked for all of us, and early in July made their way by land and by air for a proper Butler family gathering.
While the kids were all making travel plans, Don and I worked on the back yard. Knowing our group is large in number – we total 20 now, and the grandkids span a huge number of years – including two one-year-old toddlers and one 17 year old high school senior with a variety of ages in between, we decided that the back yard had to be the attraction. No house is big enough for all those people – especially one that’s only 2300 square feet with no air conditioning!
We hit up the thrift store on half-price Saturday and found a badminton net for $5.00 and 6 racquets for $.50 each. We felt like we’d hit the jackpot!
Butler Family Park begins to take shape
Head groundskeeper tackles the tree trimming
And during the week we spent hours in the back yard.
Lucy making Grandma giggle
Addy considering gymnastics as her sport
Parker loves a swing
Grandma Lynn and some of the grands
On a day trip to the mountains we discovered a great multi-generational hiking spot. The Lily Lake trail, which some of our more experienced hikers were afraid would be just another walk in the park, proved to be easy enough for the littles and interesting enough for the bigs. Definitely a hike we’d do again.
Katie and Lucy
View of Longs Peak from our hike
Other highlights of the week included lots of water, crazy jumping and bouncing, and even a little bit of fire.
What? You don’t have a bounce house in your family room?
Thanks to Mark & Kate for supplying the bouncy fun!
Only one old grill was harmed in the making of these s’mores.
And then they all said good bye and took to the road and the sky once again. And we were left with
which cleaned up very quickly and reminded us of the great week we had spent together.
Thanks, kids, for making it happen. It was a celebration 40 years in the making, and you did it up splendidly!
A huge highlight of the week was the anniversary dinner at an authentic Iranian restaurant.
So memorable for us that it deserves a post of its own.
You were just a kid when I left home – a 13 year old pest to be exact! At that time you were still making dumb and inappropriate comments about and to my friends. You were still wrestling with Jeff until something or someone got broken. You were fighting with Mom about cleaning your room. You were avoiding daily showers. You were so obnoxiously normal.
As you grew up, you became a very likable guy. (or maybe I’m the one who changed?) You had a great sense of humor and made me laugh a lot. You did some great impressions – remember “H-e-l-l-o, B-e-a-r”? You were a great football player, even though you were part of a couple of heart stopping moments on the field. You were fun to be around, and my kids thought you were the best.
You handled leukemia with faith and courage. I learned a lot as I watched you establish priorities knowing that your time on earth was limited. After doing all you could do to prevent or delay the inevitable, I watched you accept the outcome gracefully. I have a good memory of our last phone conversation the day before you died. Who knew the end would come so soon after that?
Because your life was so short, we haven’t had a chance to be adult friends and siblings. I’m pretty sure we’d have had a good time together. But I’m also sure the chance for more good times is in our future.
We still miss you, but we know that you’re in a good place.
I’m thinking of you on this day. Give my love to Mom.