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!
Every year on February 14, Don surprises me with a hand crafted Valentine. This tradition started in 1973 during our dating years at BYU, and has continued during the last 39 years with very few misses. He writes creative poetry, uses practical objects as symbols for our relationship (think an exercise balance disk to talk about how we balance each other), or leaves a myriad of love notes taped in unexpected places throughout the house.
This year was no different and brought this thoughtful display
which included his genuine observations for a happy marriage.
He writes from experience, and we will be happy forever!
My 3rd great grandfather, Benoni Preston Pratt, asking Lansing Gaylor Taylor for the hand of his daughter,
Caroline Wing Taylor, in marriage.
They were married 30 August 1849.
(On) July 14th 1849
L.G. Taylor Esq
I have the consent of the hand of your Daughter Caroline should it meet the approbation of the parents. Will they favor me with an early reply.
I await their pleasure
Fort Miller 14 July 1849
Mr. B.P. Pratt
Your note dated 14 July came to hand this day and in reply to the matters set forth in the same I would say that the parents of Caroline cheerfully consent and hope that the arrangement may prove ( ?) happiness to all the parties concerned it it.
On our first Valentine’s Day together, before we were even engaged, Don started a tradition that he has continued throughout our marriage. He often presents me with some sort of creative card, carefully thought out and tailored just for me.
The first year after we’d only been dating a few months, he bought a card that looked like this:
But because it would never have been proper to give an innocent BYU coed a card featuring naked people, he “dressed it up” like this:
And then finished the process with the picket fence with our initials carefully carved in the heart shaped handle.
The Butler family social event of the season took place at the Wedding Bowl – a park overlooking the beach in La Jolla.
The weather was NOT wedding day perfect, and as we waited for the ceremony to begin, the clouds, breeze and cool (actually cold) temperatures made us all wish we had classy jackets to match our wedding finery.
Nathan remained his usual cool self and chatted with the guests after giving Peter some last minute instructions about the music. Pete was more nervous than Nate – certain he would ruin the occasion by messing up the music. But he handled that i-pod like a champ.
Peter got the music going, and Katie demurely made her way down the ramp scattering the flower petals as she’d been instructed. When she got to the front and still had petals left in the basket, the minister told her to just dump them all out. She dutifully obeyed, so Nikki had a plush cushion of rose petals under [one of] her feet.
As Nikki and her dad started down, I found myself looking from Nikki to the waiting Nate and back again. Their grins were contagious! And “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” seemed the perfect background.
Nikki’s excitement was evident as she bounced and rocked on her heels while they promised to love, honor and respect each other. Nate kept grinning. And we all shared their enthusiasm!
The reception dinner was a delicious barbecue catered by Phil’s. The cakes (carrot with cream cheese icing and white with berry filling and white chocolate icing) were the perfect ending.
and the dreams that you dare to dream
really do come true.
Monday night, rather spur of the moment style, Don and I decided to go skiing. We bought a 4-pack of tickets back in November, but due to scheduling conflicts, doctor’s appointments, cold and very windy weather on many Tuesdays which is the day Don can go, we (meaning Don) had only used one of the set. In addition I have been less than enthusiastic about skiing this year and could quite easily find excuses not to go. I don’t know why I haven’t wanted to ski this year. I do still have some anxiety about falling and hurting myself -but it’s been five years since that episode, so I think it’s time I got over that. And I hate to be cold. And what if the roads are bad. And on and on and on.
So when Don “casually” suggested on Monday night that he’d really like to get in one more day of skiing, I decided to put aside all my excuses and go with him – the man that would do almost anything for me.
As the day went on and I got my ski legs under me, I got a little more adventurous and took the second lift up to some blue runs. It was great! My only injury was a badly bruised thumb as a result of a very unspectacular fall (and on a green run, no less) that resulted in my thumb being smashed between the packed snow and my ski pole. But it will heal without any surgery or rehab, so no big deal.
What a glorious day! And when it was time to head home, I was the one who insisted on “just one more run from the top.”