Monday, August 20, 2012

our summer vacation

The Blankenship family is officially well-rested, sun-kissed, relaxed, and reluctant to return to the daily grind after two weeks of almost consecutive days of vacation. Every moment of each of those days was absolutely wonderful!

Our first long weekend of vacation was spent with Dan's longtime friends, The Hansons, in Eastern Washington at Sun Lakes Resort. When the only things to do is to either swim in the lake, lay in the sun, dig in the sand, splash in the pool, take a nap, or grill some grub...well, life is good! We all enjoyed ourselves and our time with the Hanson family.
Dan and the guys got to fit in a round of golf and Jackson enjoyed his very own first round of mini golf. He was surprisingly good at knocking the ball into the hole, although he was a bit sketchy on the official rules of the game. Dan helped him line up a few shots and gave him some pointers, but for the most part he was king of the course all on his own and sped through all 18 holes at a record pace. It was a fun and hilarious sight to behold.
Jackson especially enjoyed time with Eric's daughters, Hannah and Chloe. It was so cute to see the kids finally at an age where they would all play together. Jackson even tried his hand at playing with the girls' doll toys. He used their miniature doll stroller as a forklift and carried doll paraphernalia to his cement truck. Such a boy!

 Of course, all of that sunshine can be exhausting. Thankfully, road trips leave lots of time for naps.

The second leg of our vacation began a few days later when we left for more fun in the hot sun in Idaho. En route to our vacation spot, we happened upon a children's festival in Spokane where Jackson got to cool off by splashing in a huge fountain and, even better, he got to meet some policemen and firemen who let him try on their gear.
Upon arriving in Idaho, we joined our gracious hosts, Greg & Mary and Gary & Lois, along with our friends Ben & Becky and Matt & Adelle and kids for a long weekend of more sunshine and splashing at Lake Couer d'Alene. It was absolutely heavenly!
Dan and Matt played some tunes for us...
The kids all played together...
...And the lake was put to good use by all for sand castle building, splashing, swimming, boating, kayaking, and wakeboarding.
The whole group had a great time and was sad to part ways at the end of our stay.
We Blankenships headed home in a route that took us through the Palouse so we could enjoy the beauty of those "amber waves of grain" that we hear so much about. The wheat fields didn't disappoint and the scenery was gorgeous as we continued to Palouse Falls before making our way back to Edmonds.

Though we were back at home, the vacation didn't end there. After a night in our own beds and an obligatory stop at the local Krispy Kreme for some donuts, we spent the next day traveling to Mt. Rainier with Mom & Dad Blankenship.
The mountain was as gorgeous as ever and the wildflowers were in full bloom. We spent about 6 hours hiking at an easy pace for the benefit of Grandma Jan, pregnant Jill, and flower-sniffing, rock-throwing Jackson. Our ascent up to Panorama Point and back to the Paradise Lodge were accompanied by the scents of the wildflowers and the shrill, whistling calls of the marmots who peaked from their perches in the surrounding meadows. 
Jackson's favorite part of the hike was the snow. He took full advantage of any opportunity to make a snowball...and throw it (naturally).
 You know what's better than a snowball? Two snowballs!
 Don't forget to stop and smell the wildflowers!
Our little dude puts the HAPPY in "happy camper" and this shirt suits him oh so well.
 Hello there, snow field!
 Potty break, mountain style.
 Three generations of Blankenship hiking men:
We capped off our day of climbing with a deliciously filling meal at the Lodge - a fabulous end to an incredible day.