Because I want to remember everything about our 40th anniversary celebration

Because I want to remember everything about our 40th anniversary celebration

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!

The Cougar Lite was made for this!
The Cougar Lite was made for this!

 

Our bedroom was in the trees
Our bedroom was in the trees

 

We walked through the campground and reminisced about the times we’d been there when our kids were younger.

It rained and even hailed a couple of times, but we loved hearing the rain on the roof while we played Qwirkle.

Chips & salsa, rain on the roof and Qwirkle - a real vacation!
Chips & salsa, rain on the roof and Qwirkle – a real vacation!

 

We hiked Deer Mountain and biked around Lake Estes.

And every night we had a campfire – because isn’t that what mountain camping is all about?

Phase 10 by the fire brings memories of my mom!
Phase 10 by the fire brings memories of my mom!

Best vacation we’ve had in a long time!

 

 

The Anniversary Dinner – Middle Eastern Style

The Anniversary Dinner – Middle Eastern Style

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?

Rumi's - Greeley, Colorado
Rumi’s – Greeley, Colorado

The kids had reserved a private room upstairs, those windows over the porch, and Nikki and Brittney handled the decorations.

Celebrating 40 years
Celebrating 40 years

The menu brought back so many memories – nothing is printed to any particular standard in the middle east!

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!

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.
The whole group
The whole group

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.

The happy couple
The happy couple

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!

Butler Family Meet up – 2013

Butler Family Meet up – 2013

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.

Group at dinner
The only group picture – minus the babies who must have been sleeping, Mike who hadn’t yet arrived, and Nikki who was thoughtful enough to document the moment.  But it’s the best we’ve got!

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!

And during the week we spent hours in the back yard.

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.

 

Other highlights of the week included lots of water, crazy jumping and bouncing, and even a little bit of fire.

Slip and sliding through the wall of water
Slip and sliding through the wall of water

 

3-D Shrek in the 5th wheel theater
3-D Shrek in the 5th wheel theater

 

What?  You don’t have a bounce house in your family room?
Thanks to Mark & Kate for supplying the bouncy fun!

Bounce house beginning to take shape
Bounce house beginning to take shape
They loved it!
They loved it!

 

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

The aftermath
The aftermath

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.

 

Beginning a Legacy

Beginning a Legacy

I’m going to Salt Lake this week to help my dad move into a new home.
He’s making the move to retirement living, and I think he’s got a great thing going!

The entrance is elegant.

Discussing the options
Discussing the options

*   *   *   *   *

The grounds are beautifully kept.

The "back yard"
The "back yard"

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He has a private balcony

He's got a third floor balcony
His apartment is on the third floor

*   *   *   *   *

and a room with a view.

the mountains
The spire of the Jordan River Temple

*   *   *   *   *

And if that’s not enough, he gets three meals a day in this lovely dining room!

Salad bar
Salad bar

Do you think they’ll let me move in?