We were long over due for a trip to the Rushings in Portland. After we were done with our trip in Sunriver, we drove 3 hours (through the most beautiful towns and scenery . . . the town of Sisters and Salem) and made it to Vancouver, Washington. My kids were so excited to go back to their home. It had been 5 years. As we turned into their neighborhood, the kids got so excited. Amazed at the beautiful homes and huge yards. Layton played off of that excitement and tried to jump out of car before we had even had a chance to enter his driveway. Ryan walked in the house and informed Will that his house is a mansion. Will seemed just as surprised as Ryan, "Oh. I never knew that."
We went to OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) in Portland for FHE. We toured the Albert Einstein exhibit, played in the sand and water area, saw what we would look like in 20 years, performed puppet shows, played the weatherman with the green screen, drew with heat and so much more. It was a really fun museum and had something for all ages.
The next morning we drove 40 minutes to hike Beacon Rock. Hiking always sounds so fun to me but somehow I conveniently forget about my extreme fear of heights. We started at ground level and quickly started wrapping around the rock, overlooking the water and cliffs. Morgan surprised me. She usually has such a fear of heights but didn't seem to notice we were on a cliff and that with one slip she would fall off the mountain. She kept running away from us. It was too much. Trying to hold her hand and her pulling me all over on this extremely narrow path with not much of a railing. I took Morgan and Mia back to the car while the others climbed to the top. Griffin kept tripping and Jack volunteered to bring him back to the car too. Someone offered to take a picture of the finishers at the top of the rock. Heidi and Gavin laughed about their blended family portrait.
We ended our FHE with the candy bar game.
We also had some good scriptural discussions with our family scripture study. Gavin really brought a new light and understanding to the teachings of Isaiah. It reminded me a lot of the Chronicles of Narnia.
We got home from our hike with just enough time to grab our swimsuits, beach toys and towels and head to the beach. The Columbia River beach. The sun came out and warmed up right when we got there. The kids had fun playing in the sand, swimming in the river, digging the largest hot tub in the sand (for "Jay's Resort"), blowing bubbles, and doing a dunking machine.
We also had fun just hanging out at home, which might have been my kids' favorite part of the trip. The pinball machine was everyone's favorite. Jack even set his alarm for 7:30 am so he could beat everyone to the pinball machine. The goal was to beat Uncle Blake's high score. No one was successful. Not even Gavin. We packed up to go home, got everyone loaded in the car and then Gavin was nowhere to be found. After some searching, I finally found him in the game room, playing one last game of pinball before hitting the road back to SLC.
We had such a great time. Heidi is an amazing hostess. Never complaining about cooking dinner for 11 kids and 4 adults, messes everywhere, broken floral arrangements, coat racks falling over, a broken dishwasher, extra laundry, blinds being pulled out of the wall, someone using a guitar to play the grand piano, and exercise balls thrown in her formal living room. I think she might even let us come back and visit. If we give her another 5 years.