Last week our marriage turned 15 and we thought that was reason enough to head out with the kids for a long weekend. The plan was to hike Devil's Lake, which is one of our favorite spots, with the kids for the first time. We had grand plans to do our usual trails, but it stormed the night before and most of the morning, making them much too slippery (they are mostly rock steps). So we hit the other bank and really did more than I ever expected the kids to manage. Jack was a huge help to the girls (the easier trail was still pretty slippery & muddy). EJ managed the entire 3+ mile hike and Liv made it to a little under a mile before she asked to be carried (and still took some turns walking when needed). I was impressed!
This pic was at the top of the hill (so about halfway) and as we paused to take pics, it was really fun to share the story of how we got engaged on the top of the trail on the other side of the lake. The sun started peeking out a bit and making things warmer too. I was glad to share this special place with the kids and I can't wait to go back (Jack was ready to take on all the trails, but the girls were done).
The kids experienced lots of new things during the weekend. First was a ferry ride across the river (which we did on the way home too...less rain but much bigger crowds) and they loved every second.
The other was visiting a Big Cat Rescue Center that we never knew existed in the same area we were hiking. All of the animals are rescued from backyard owners or zoos and it was amazing to see them SO close (I think we were 3 feet away from their enclosures). It was a first for all of us, but EJ (not surprisingly) was really takan aback.
This was her first peek at a tiger (her favorite animal in the world) and this is her reaction.
When she got over the shock, her expression turned to pure joy.
But honestly...we were all thrilled.
The rest of the weekend was filled with dinners out, late nights and lots of swimming at the hotel.
And on Sunday...cake for lunch! It's tradition for our family to stop and order slices of our wedding cakes from the restaurant that made them for us. Luckily, we had lots of options at the wedding, because now there is something for everyone and no one minds sharing with the family.
I think everyone had a blast (I know I did)...the perfect mini-getaway!